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Your name is Shu, and you fear that one of the few bastions of sanity that remain in your bloody, twisted world is slowly starting to crumble. In the three weeks you’ve spent exploring your powers, making friends, and navigating the baroque wastelands of the Fleshscape, you always had the Monastery to look forward to coming back to, despite its nigh-constant bustle of activity. However, after a confrontation with the acting leader of the Monastery you've found yourself on the bad side of a girl who’s slowly succumbing to the pressures of leadership and survival in a world gone mad.

Now, in the aftermath of your tense conversation with Sister Uzu and her display of barely restrained power, you find yourself weighing the odds of fixing this situation or finding somewhere else to call home…to say nothing of Gina and Dorian’s private struggles that have carried them away from your side for the time being…

Previous Vein: >>3453544

Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Body%20Horror%20Quest

Character Abilities: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/15ctgm_liaNO0e0B6zAcIUrmfDN0tWiXds3L4FvogI2M/edit#gid=0

Relics: https://pastebin.com/8qNSREwW

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bodyhorrorquest?lang=en
>>
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With Amara still riding atop your shoulders, you carry her through the spiral-marked corridor and away from the evidence of Sister Uzu’s outburst, the two of you emerging into the Monastery’s cathedral-esque main hall. You pass a group of battle-weary Daughters coming from where you’re headed; towards the sparring room, where Amara informed you that Rath is more than likely still training.

“…orking us like nobody else, that girl doesn’t know when to quit…”

“…eird training regiment, too. Why’s she so specific about how we attack?”

Snippets of their mutterings drift by you, and the moment you enter the space you’re assaulted by the smell of sweat and the tang of blood hanging in the air. After a moment of searching across the bustle and noise of various sparring partners you find Rath, wailing on a thick tube of meat suspended from a calcite rig with her Phantom Limbs moving in a series of quick, yet powerful jabs. Her gaze meets yours as you approach, and she gives you a four-armed salute before the extra arms disappear into the skin of her back and shoulders.

You recap your time with the Colossus to her, skimming over the incident with Gina and ending with your conversation with Uzu. It’s the last part that prompts Rath’s eyes to go wide and the base of her fist to smack into the side of her head in anger.

“Shit. SHIT, I had no clue it was that bad. I’m so sorry Shu, I should’ve…” She begins scolding herself before your hand finds her shoulder. Amara shushes the redhead, putting a finger to her lips and gently whispering ‘don’t waste the magic’, to which Rath cocks an orange eyebrow in confusion.

“Nope, none of that, Rath. You and Amara both did great here.” You assure them, re-adjusting your grip on the Skintalker’s ankles before you continue, your voice low in the presence of the other Daughters around you. “I get the feeling that the problems that pervade this place were here long before we arrived.”

“Yeah, Uzu's just…worn. Homegirl’s just stressed with getting pulled every which way, and I get that, y’know? She didn’t bring this on herself, unlike…” Rath says, stopping herself just shy of bringing up your oldest friend. “Anyway, what’s the plan, Shu?”

You’re left wondering the same thing as you stare into Rath’s glimmering citrine eyes, weighing the paths ahead.

>>Leave Amara here with Rath and check in with Gina. You’ve given her a little while to herself, and you know there’s a fine line between personal time and spiraling…or you do now, at least.

>>It’s been a minute since you’ve seen Julia and Dorian after the latter stalked off to make his Choice. You’d like to check on him proactively and see how it went.

>>Both Gina and Dorian still probably need more time, so you’ll wait with (Rath/Amara/Magpie/Gemma/Niku/Dream Daughter/Other) until they’re ready.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3488240
Go to the bathroom.
>>
>>3488240
>>It’s been a minute since you’ve seen Julia and Dorian after the latter stalked off to make his Choice. You’d like to check on him proactively and see how it went.

Gina might need more time, and might come find us when she is ready.

Also good to see this back BHOP.
>>
(Gentlemen, voting shall close in two hours.)

>>3488252
(It's good to be back, Anon. I hope work has been going well for you.)
>>
>>3488240
This >>3488252
>>
>>3488240
>Both Gina and Dorian still probably need more time, so you’ll wait with (Rath/Amara/Magpie/Gemma/Niku/Dream Daughter/Other) until they’re ready.
>Go into your dreams. It's time you try to talk to Sam.
>>
>>3488240
>>It’s been a minute since you’ve seen Julia and Dorian after the latter stalked off to make his Choice. You’d like to check on him proactively and see how it went.
The Choice usually doesn't take long, once the trance sets in. I imagine that even when it doesn't result in "fuck you and the giant alien placenta you rode in on, lady", Mother would still want to keep the sessions short.

Also, good morning, thread. How are you all this Monday?
>>
>>3488258
As well as work ever treats anyone.

>>3488289
>fuck you and the giant alien placenta you rode in on, lady"
Kek
And doing well, considering its a Monday.
>>
>>3488258
Wait, who's Gemma? The names not ringing any bells.
>>
>>3488330
(She's the Daughter who came to the Monastery and asked Shu to devour her. She went to Mara first, but Mara directed her to Shu and you met Gemma shortly after that.)
>>
>>3488336
Oohh yeah, thats my bad. Guess i just didn't think she would be one to talk to again really.

Hrm, well now that's certainly something to consider...
>>
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>>3488240

You beckon for Rath to follow as you track down where Dorian and Julia went, having do doubt found some quiet nook of the Monastery in which to have a moment of peace for your brooding painter to confront Mother on his own terms. Between a few pulses of your empathic field and Amara whispering to the storied walls it doesn’t take long to locate your pair of resident artists, gazing out the window on the third floor of the towering building. You see Julia first, delicate fingers rubbing gentle circles in the small of Dorian’s back, his sharp crimson suit and scarlet, shifting limbs a stark contrast to the pale blonde next to him. Julia turns at the sound of your approach and gives you a weak smile as Dorian continues to stare wistfully out the window, his electric blue eye intently focused on rolling mounds of flesh that make up the horizon.

“Dude, you okay?” Rath opens bluntly, and Julia gives her a very tactful, yet pointed, glare. Dorian leans back from the sill at the same moment you become aware of movement in the shadows. A chill runs down your hive as a pair of familiar forms take shape in the dark, their shifting hues mirroring Dorian’s previous, multi-colored attire, and you watch as the hideous facsimiles of Dorian’s mother and sister merge once more with their creator.

“Yes, Miss Rath, I’ll…I’m fine.” He says, straightening and smoothing the creases from his suit with a deep sigh. “Mother gave me a choice of bringing one of them back, and I expected her to take that route. She would’ve had me choose between two ghosts.”

Dorian fixes you with his singularly azure gaze and smiles. You can feel the waves of guilt and regret flowing from him across your empathic channel, though they’re feelings towards his past rather than ones focused on the decision her just made.

“She gave me a choice that would’ve only benefited me…so I made one that would help us as a whole.”

>>WAKING DREAMLANDS (Dreams in the Witch House Augmentation): The first of two effects of the Fool’s Choice Dorian made is one that now binds his familial constructs to his allies, allowing you and your allies to summon them to your aid when unconscious, making death saving throws, or upon succumbing to a status effect that would render you or an ally immobile and/or unresponsive. When one of these criteria are met, one half of the ally’s remaining BIO may be spent to generate a powerful Construct that gains their abilities and latent ACTS, while lacking HEALTH or BIO REGEN, thus allowing abilities that require concentration to continue as the mother or sister constructs pick up where your fallen ally leaves off. Though they were not reincarnated into the Crucible’s vicious cycle, Dorian knows that his family would want to help those he’s close to…and so they shall.

(Continued)
>>
>>3488552

After Dorian’s taken a moment to collect himself, you explain Uzu's worrisome situation to the artists, and while the severity of her mental state causes them some alarm, it’s met with little surprise.

“I w-was afraid of s-something like this.” Julia murmurs as she bites her lower lip fretfully, the deep furrowing of her brows stretching her artificial skin taught, threatening to tear it away from her ears and scalp. “I kept getting this feeling like she was, I d-don’t know, like she w-was…”

“…teetering on the brink?” Dorian offers, and Julia gives him a nod. “Given my time before Shu found me, I can empathize…though when it comes to putting innocent lives in danger, that’s something I cannot and will not abide, regardless of Sister Uzu’s state of mind. We should get the Daughters out of here as soon as possible.”

“Christ man, throwing Uzu under the bus, don’tcha think?” Rath replies incredulously, citrine eyes snapping at Dorian with an affronted glare. “She just needs some time and TLC, dude."

“S-starting small would be good, I think?” Julia offers softly, putting a hand on Dorian’s shoulder. “As m-much as I want to help everyone here, we j-just d-don’t have the time or resources t-to devote to keeping everyone happy and healthy…”

“…and I only have s-so much t-tea.” She adds, downcast.

“…What about the Disassociated Ones?” Dorian counters, looking to you. “Perhaps they’d be willing to help?”

“Yeah, no thanks. After what they did to November, I sure as hell don’t trust a town full of Doctor Wests to have the Sisters’ best interests at heart, yeah?” Rath fires back before looking a little sheepish. “The armor was pretty bitchin’, though.”

You need to step in, but you’re not entirely sure what the solution is to this situation.

>>Uzu’s dead-set in her Grandmother’s ways and it’s going to drive this place into the ground sooner or later. We’ve seen what happens when a large group of Daughters fall to the Hunger in one place, and I’ll be damned if that’s going to happen here (Write-In where you’ll try to find them sanctuary.)

>>You’ll spend some time helping Uzu get in a better frame of mind. She’s the one that’s been here and she knows the people; we don’t, so trying to shoulder that burden would stretch us too thin, too fast…but you have an idea (Get Gina and attempt to convince Uzu to let you both into her mind).

>> You don’t have enough information to go on to make such a large decision, right now. You’ll spend a little more time here and make that decision. In the meantime, you’d like to touch base with (Magpie/Gemma/Niku/DreamDaughter/Other).

>>This isn’t your fight, and you have a larger goal in mind that will help everyone left alive in this world. You’ll continue westward and leave the companions you don’t take with you in the town at the foot of the Calcite Peaks.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3488552
I did wonder if Dorian's mother or sister where made into daughters some time before Dorian woke up and had left by the time he did. Guess not.
>>
>>3488565
>> You don’t have enough information to go on to make such a large decision, right now. You’ll spend a little more time here and make that decision. In the meantime, you’d like to touch base with Gemma and Niku.

Now here's my thought. Uzu will probably throw a fit if we try to get into her mind, but we otherwise are far from prepared to move anyone to a new location. So lets go talk to the two people we know who are in some way part of this place, and see how they feel about it and what they think could, can, and should be done.

One is a longtime resident who can give us insight into the place as a whole, the other is new, but needed their help, and can tell us who effective said help has come, and where she feels they are lacking. Such info will help us know where and what we can do for this place, and what we might need to do if we make our own place.
>>
>>3488565
>>3488586
Supporting. Let's go around talking to a bunch of the older residents and other sisters, in fact.
>>
(Gentlemen, voting shall remain open for the next two hours.)
>>
>>3488565
>> You don’t have enough information to go on to make such a large decision, right now. You’ll spend a little more time here and make that decision. In the meantime, you’d like to touch base with Niku and Magpie.

I mostly agree with >>3488586 but prefer speaking to Magpie over Gemma. Magpie and Niku are the people I would most expect to know Uzu and the Monastery well and thus give us the best advice.

If we can't find a way to save the Monastery, I suggest evacuating to the Sororitas' factory. Maybe Ringo can help keep everyone sane in exchange for the Daughters helping protect the Engine? (Though we'd have to carefully vet who gets to know it exists)
>>
>>3488682
I'd rather we evac to the Calcite peaks.
>>
>>3488682
Thing is, Niku could be biased, even potentially Magpie. And while Magpie may know Uzu, just like Mara she probably doesn't stick around for long nor help out in the place too much, meaning she won't know about its actual inner workings or issues. Shes like us, an outsider who visits.

Meanwhile Gemma actually has issues that require her to get more deeply involved, but hasn't been around long enough to be biased, and is a fresh face not tinted with nostalgia against its problems.

Im still of the opinion spicing up the mountain town may work better, its location is alot more hidden and defensible. As someone whos been in big Warehouse/factories, trust me, the work necessary to make those places actually defensible would be enormous.
>>
>>3488565
>> You don’t have enough information to go on to make such a large decision, right now. You’ll spend a little more time here and make that decision. In the meantime, you’d like to touch base with Gemma and Niku.
Speaking of Niku, I'd like to ask her if there are any safety precautions to follow when disposing of a Relic. The items we looted from West's lab are pretty foul things, and if possible I'd like to destroy them.
>>
>>3488776
Im with you there, lets let the daughters inside finally find some rest.
>>
>>3488719
On reflection, I think you're right, changing my vote to support >>3488586.

How hidden is the town? I was under the impression it was on the other side of the mountains and not too far from the swamp and hidden city.
>>
>>3488833
From what details i can remember, its about halfway or so into the mountains in a valley, but surrounded by said mountains on all sides. Hell, minus if you can fly, Julias old art gallery is the only way in from one direction, which is pretty useful. Cant say fir the other directions though.
>>
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>>3488565

You know it’s too soon to make the call with what information you have on hand, so when you think on who to talk with about the Monastery’s current direction, two names come to mind. Leaving your allies to talk among themselves, you find the first name on your list in the eerily quiet main hall, having a solemn discussion with a girl that wears her face. As you approach Gemma and her doppelganger, the one you’re familiar with gives her double a brief hug and an assurance that she’ll be with her shortly before sending her on her way to the second floor.

“Thank you so, so much, Shu.” Gemma says before you can say anything. “That one of me is the fourth to come here seeking sanctuary in my mind, and at the rate things are going I think I’ll be strong enough soon to put up a fight if one of my meaner selves comes knocking! You’ve been such a huge inspiration to me, I just…thank you!”

She seems immensely pleased at her odd sort of auto-cannibalism, but as much as you’d like to address her other selves’ enthusiasm at the prospect of being devoured by one of their own, you sought out Gemma for a purpose.

“I’d like to ensure things keep going smoothly here so you’ll have that opportunity.” You reply, voice low in the cavernous space. “I wanted to ask your thoughts on this place.”

“You’re talking about how everyone seems so on edge, right? Okay, I’m glad I’m not the only one!” She says just a little too loud, and you make a gesture to encourage her to keep her voice a little lower to avoid any unfortunate echoes. “Sorry, sorry…so yeah, you could cut this tension with a knife, but it’s nice to know it’s not just me.”

“I know you haven’t been here long, but what do you think needs to be done here?” You ask, and you can plainly see that her opinion is the last thing Gemma was expecting you to ask of her.

“Me? Oh shoot, uh…Maybe someone could eat Uzu?” She blurts out, and you have to fight hard to not let your reaction show too plainly on your face. “I mean, it’s working for me, at least! A few of my fragments had been struggling with the Hunger until I absorbed them, and now they’re fine, and they’re helping me to keep calm too, since we can all work together. Maybe someone Uzu trusts could consume her in a voluntary kinda-way and then lead everyone here in her place? ‘Cuz Uzu’s a really good leader, but if she’s super-stressed in the real, then she’d be fine in the dream, right? She’d be a great headspace advisor, and then her successor things keep running smoothly here. Win-win!”

“What’s this about Sister Uzu?” Asks a soft voice from behind you. You turn to see the elegantly dressed Forgemistress Niku, her trademark kimono wrapped around her slender frame.

(Continued)
>>
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>>3488921

“Thank you for your time, Gemma.” You say, giving the girl a small bow which she awkwardly returns with a toothy grin. “I won’t keep you from…you. Good luck.”

“I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, Miss Shu.” Says Niku, giving Gemma a small wave goodbye as she runs off. “I’d normally be tending the Forge, but Lady Magpie requested it’s private use for a moment, so…”

Niku squares her shoulders and stares into your eyes with an uncharacteristic determination, clearly uncomfortable with putting her foot down in this capacity.

“…please forgive my forwardness, but why are you inquiring after Sister Uzu?”

You consider the short red-head before you as you weigh your reply.

“You’ve saved me from tracking you down, actually. I just spoke with Uzu privately and she seemed a little out of sorts.” You explain, watching Niku’s face shift from demanding to concerned as you speak. “I wanted to see if that was just an isolated thing or if…”

“I think you know well enough, Sister Shu.” She interrupts with a sigh, her scarlet eyes glancing about the largely empty room. “As you have a pair of Flesh Artisans by your side I think you understand that we are a particularly empathic sort. Uzu and I, we’re…quite painfully aware of the state of things here on a micro and macro level, as Artisans ourselves.”

“So then you and she understand that if things are left as they are, then there’s only one outcome. It’s one that I wouldn’t wish on anyone, least of all anyone here.” You intone, and you watch as Niku nods to herself, pausing a moment before she voices her faltering reply.

“I know, I just…Uzu won’t talk to me.” Niku’s voice is lower than normal, voicing a fact she’d rather not face. “She’s blocked herself off, and she’s refusing to discuss the Monastery’s affairs with anyone. We used to talk for hours, and now...nothing.”

“I want to get through to her, I really do. I’ll do everything in my power to make sure she doesn’t succumb to the Hunger.” You begin, watching her eyes study your face. “But we need to have a backup plan. What about everyone else here? I can tell by looking that most of the daughters here wouldn’t last out in the Fleshscape, not with their lack of combat experience.”

“Then you should take them and go, but I’m staying here no matter what happens.” Niku says, and the same wave of defiance as you felt from Uzu washes over you from the girl in front of you. “Let me be clear, Sister Shu; I’m not leaving Uzu’s side. Her Grandmother saved my life on her way to the Cord, so I’m staying with Sister Uzu, come what may. I’m going to keep doing all I can to help Uzu…I owe them both that much.”

(Continued)
>>
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>>3488925

You shrug your shoulders, and the shifting of a pair of Relics in your pockets reminds you something you wanted to ask. “On a different track, what’s the procedure for breaking down Relics in the Forge? Anything I should know about?”

Niku cocks her head to one side, curious at the question and change of topic, both.

“Not really, no. Its pretty simple, really. If it’s been made with Generator input, then there’s a small chance of detonation, but aside from that you should just be able to break it down into its component biomass, with some loss of material to be expected.”

You feel the Nail and the tightly-coiled Spine at your side, weighing heavily in the pocket of your dress. “And what if they were made by distilling a Daughter into one? Any side effects in that case?”

“Oh…in that case, then the biggest issue is that the Daughter inside would be lost forever, unless of course you have Phantasmal Conduit on hand to transfer them elsewhere.” She explains, giving you a cautious once-over.

“It’s about a pair of Relics I liberated from Doctor West’s lab. They were made with Daughters against their will.” She relaxes a fraction, at your elaboration.

“I never liked that one.” Niku replies with a shiver before casting a glance down the hall where Sister Uzu’s chambers lie. “So, um...Sister Uzu’s scheduled to teach a class in the next few minutes, but I’m about to see if I can take over for her, so…be safe, alright?”

She bows deeply, and you respond in kind before she shuffles off, her sandals scuffing along the hardened skin flooring. As you approach the Forge hall, a gust of heated air wafts across your face from down the corridor, while at the same time you can sense Gina somewhere on the second floor, pointedly isolating herself from you and your allies.

>>Visit Magpie in the Forge, and destroy West’s abominable Relics while you’re there. The markswoman seems familiar with Uzu and her Grandmother, so perhaps she’d have some valuable input.

>>You’ll wait to destroy the relics until you have your team by your side…and that includes Gina. It’s about time you checked in on her before you do anything else.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3488932
>You’ll wait to destroy the relics until you have your team by your side…and that includes Gina. It’s about time you checked in on her before you do anything else.
>>
>>3488932
>>You’ll wait to destroy the relics until you have your team by your side…and that includes Gina. It’s about time you checked in on her before you do anything else.
Yeah, best to have our Neuromancer with us for that operation anyway, and we shouldn't leave Gina to brood any longer.
>>
>>3488932
>>You’ll wait to destroy the relics until you have your team by your side…and that includes Gina. It’s about time you checked in on her before you do anything else.

Ffffffs godamnit Gemma thats not what we meant by our earlier talks at all. Thats like, the exact opposite of the morality we wish to teach. Fuck it, we have way too much to deal with to try and deal with her too, hopefully she doesn't become a problem we actually have to deal with.
>>
(Voting shall remain open for the next two hours, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3488954
Here's hoping it's not foreshadowing. Gemma advocating eating Uzu so she can be a dream advisor, Niku saying she's never going to abandon her friend, Uzu herself breaking down...I can see this leading to Uzu going crazy and having to be killed for the good of the Monastery, with Niku then eating her and becoming the new Abbess with her friend in her head. Let's try to avoid that outcome, even if it probably actually would work out well.
>>
>>3488980
God i hope not. I still dont see voluntary consumption as anywhere near a good or justified thing, and seeing anyone fall to the hunger is terribly sad. Like putting down a beloved pet that got rabies kinda, but worse.
>>
>>3488932
>You’ll wait to destroy the relics until you have your team by your side…and that includes Gina. It’s about time you checked in on her before you do anything else.
>>
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>>3488932

[Hey there] You begin, ascending the stairs to the second floor, taking you time with each well-trodden step. [I’d like to see you, if you’re up for it]

When you reach the top of the stairs the second door on your left swings open, and as you round the doorframe you see Gina sitting cross-legged on a small cot, her cords withdrawing back into her right arm. Light streams in from the open window, casting a golden-yellow glow across her long brunette hair, her hoodie still hanging just off her left arm, shoulder bared towards you as you step across the threshold.

{I didn’t lock the door this time} She says across your empathic tie. {That’s some character development, right?}

You walk over, smoothing out your dress as you take a seat beside her. Her cheeks shine in the glow from outside, wetness apparent as she gives you a weak smile.

“You know, I always hated that sort of character in shows back when everything was normal.” She says aloud, turning to stare out the window. “I’d get so pissed when I’d see these assholes who’d be surrounded by friends they clearly don’t care about. They’d always be the obvious villain, just these self-centered douchebags who wore their friends like armor, then used them like battering rams against their own problems.”

She makes a small, disgusted sound, somewhere between a laugh and cough.

“It took the end of the world for me to realize I was doing the same damn thing that I hated them for. I kept making friends with a specific kind of people to make me feel better about myself. Kosi, Isabelle, and then...”

Gina turns to you, her hazel eyes shimmering through a sheen of tears she blinks away.

“Then I met someone who makes me feel like who I really am, in every way.”

“…I’ll be honest, I can’t tell if that’s a compliment or not.” You chuckle, and she laughs bitterly.

“It’s a compliment for you and a scathing self-indictment to me, actually.” Gina replies with a sigh. “Look, I know you said you’re not mad, and I respect that. So please respect me when I say I am so, so sorry about what I did. I said that I’d make sure things would be simple between us, and I keep making things as un-fucking-simple as they can be. I mean, I n-nearly…I almost…”

She swallows hard.

“So, this thing that we have between us, I…” She takes a breath before hesitantly placing her palm on your knee. “I’m still going to do all I can to help you win the fight against Mother and finish the crucible, so don’t worry about me running off on my own or anything ridiculous like that. There’s this connection, something that violates your space and privacy, something you never asked to have that I’m solely responsible for, so…I have an idea.”

It’s thanks to your bond that you realize what she’s building towards before she puts the thought to words.

She wants to cut the Crimson Cord, and she knows how to do it.

(Continued)
>>
>>3489535

You open your mouth to speak and find Gina’s finger on your lips, a silent request to allow her to continue her thought.

“I’ve run the numbers, and I think we’d still be able to use the Scarlet Drone, and your empathic field would still operate at full capacity.” She explains, and you hold your tongue as best you can to let her finish. “You wouldn’t have to do anything! It would be all on me, so you’d be free and clear. If they follow my specifications, then they’ll be able to target the source of the bond and then…do what they do.”

Your eyes study hers as she puts on a smile.

“I’m really curious, actually!” She says, starting to ramble as her hand quickly withdraws from your knee. “Ever since I’d heard about them and saw how they modified November, I’ve been really interested in the techniques they use to…”

You can sense it, try as Gina might to cover what she’s feeling with optimism and her love of the unknown.

She’s not curious.

She’s scared.

Scared of what she’ll lose in the process of severing the bond, scared of becoming something other than herself…but any fear she has of the procedure is eclipsed by the sheer, paralyzing terror clouding her mind at the prospect of driving you away. She sees herself as little better than B’ni; an emotional tie you can’t shake, a noose around your neck that you’re too kind to sever by your own hand. So she’ll do it for you, she’ll make the call she thinks she has to make to set you free.

You, the first person she’s opened up to. The first person she’s actually considered a friend.

She believes this is the right call, and you can feel that she’s not going to be dissuaded from her solution easily. You reach out, mirroring her earlier gesture as your finger meets her lips, giving her pause as you give her your reply.

>>”I don’t want that, Gina…and something tells me you don’t, either.”

>>”…If it would ease your mind, then we’ll do it. I trust you, and if you think this is for the best, then so be it.”

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3489542
>>”I don’t want that, Gina…and something tells me you don’t, either.”
Gina you may have issues but you dont deserve isolation nor to literally cut bonds like that.
>>
(Voting shall remain open for the next two hours, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3489542
>>>”…If it would ease your mind, then we’ll do it. I trust you, and if you think this is for the best, then so be it.”
>>
>>3489542
>>>”I don’t want that, Gina…and something tells me you don’t, either.”
>>
>>3489542
>>>”I don’t want that, Gina…and something tells me you don’t, either.”
>>
>>3489542
Also, hug
>>
>>3489723
>>3489575
home now, and ill support giving her a hug aswell. also we know now thanks to Magpie that fuzzbuzz is good for cleaning up dirty messes so i think one would be perfect for drying up Ginas tears too.

too harsh a joke?
>>
>>3489542
>”I don’t want that, Gina…and something tells me you don’t, either.”
>Hug. Kiss forehead.
I had this whole written thing, but it might have gone off topic and made some assumptions, so I nixed it.
>>
>>3489755
Here's the stuff from the write-in.
>This power is a two-way street Gina. I could very well use it to use and abuse you myself. But you trust me not to. You trust me to support you and raise you higher in every way, and I think I should trust you to do the same.
>The fact that you reflected on what happened and want to sacrifice this for my wellbeing shows to me that you're a better person than you think. But I also think this may be running away from the problem rather than facing it. As people, we never stop growing, and this could also help you trust yourself. To become a better, stronger person that can be relied on and be proud.
>For me, it's a risk I'm willing to take. I think I'll also become a better person with you close to me, and I believe this connection can help us face and succeed the challenges ahead to beat this damn Crucible.
>But if you're worried, than how about this. Let's practice with it. Let's find limits and establish boundaries. We'll be safer in the long run if we actually explore what we can do with it.
If you see something from it that you like for your own write-ins, feel free to use it.
>>
>>3489764
not too bad Anon. ill admit it does feel like just an extended version of the popular choice but nothing wrong with that.
>>
>>3489542
>>Write-In
>"You know why it would have never worked out between me and Isabelle, even if she hadn't gone all crazy and run off into the wasteland? Because she put me on a pedestal. To her I'm this perfect being of compassion and good who could never hate anyone. She couldn't see me as a person, with my own selfish desires, but just this ideal. Even after she caved in my skull in a lovelorn rage, she still clung to this image she had of who I was rather than seeing me for who I actually am. I just wish I had said something sooner, maybe I could have formed a genuine relationship with her."
>"So let's not repeat that mistake this time. Gina. I am not so selfless that I would accept a bond like this and never express discomfort with it just because I'm too nice. All those feelings I can sense coming off from you about why you don't want to lose the connection? I'm feeling them too. I like what we have, Gina. Knowing that I've got someone beside me that I can rely on...it's really nice. If you're scared that you're just using me, don't be. I get as much out of this as you do. So no, I'm not going to let you go that easily, I've found a good thing here and I plan on holding on to it as long as I can."
>>
>>3489805
This also looks good.
>>
>>3489764
>>3489805
usually id love to take these two great posts and try and work them together but ive got a post-work headache so cannot find a way.

good work though anons,
>>3489575
>>3489754
changing to support these with a hug on top.
>>
>>3489898
er, wow i fucked up that formatting. im not supporting myself im supporting the other two anons posts.

im beginning to think i might need an ibuprofen afterall...
>>
>>3489542
Changing my vote to a write-in. If anybody wants to cut and paste parts of mine, feel free to do so.

>Gina, before anything else, I want you to listen to me using this power, so you know I'm not lying about what I say next.

>You don't have to do this. You're forgetting one important aspect of this ability - I know exactly how you're feeling. I don’t want to get rid of this power, Gina…and something tells me you don’t, either.

>You know why it would have never worked out between me and Isabelle, even if she hadn't gone all crazy and run off into the wasteland? Because she put me on a pedestal. To her I'm this perfect being of compassion and good who could never hate anyone. She couldn't see me as a person, with my own selfish desires, but just this ideal. Even after she caved in my skull in a lovelorn rage, she still clung to this image she had of who I was rather than seeing me for who I actually am. I just wish I had said something sooner, maybe I could have formed a genuine relationship with her.

>So let's not repeat that mistake this time. Gina. I am not so selfless that I would accept a bond like this and never express discomfort with it just because I'm too nice. All those feelings I can sense coming off from you about why you don't want to lose the connection? I'm feeling them too. I like what we have, Gina. This honesty, this understanding, this trust... it's not one-sided at all, it's an actual partnership. Knowing that I've got someone beside me that I can rely on...it's really nice. If you're scared that you're just using me, don't be. I get as much out of this as you do.

(Cont)
>>
>>3489925
>I know that the Crimson Cord wasn't something that I asked for, and it wasn't something you planned for either. Mother springs these things on us, we can't control that. But just because it was unexpected doesn't mean it isn't a good thing. Sure, it's a bit new and scary at times, but it has a lot of benefits, too.

>Still, I understand that this power is a two-way street. I could very well use it to use and abuse you myself. But you trust me not to. You trust me to support you and raise you higher in every way, and I think I should trust you to do the same.

>The fact that you reflected on what happened and want to sacrifice this for my wellbeing shows to me that you're a better person than you think. You're not like B'ni, you actually reflect on your actions and try to be better than you were before. Horrible people don't worry about whether or not they're a horrible person. You made a mistake, Gina, but that doesn't make you a bad person, it makes you human. We all have our flaws, and the fact that you want to try and fix them says way more about you than you realize.

>But I also think that destroying the Crimson Cord may be running away from the problem rather than facing it. As people, we never stop growing, and this could also help you trust yourself. To become a better, stronger person. I believe in you, Gina, and it's only fair that you should believe in yourself as well.

>Hug.
>>
>>3489542

"Gina, before anything else, I want you to listen to me using this power, so you know I'm not lying about what I say next."

She's about to interrupt when you pull her into a tight hug, wrapping your arms around her back as you pull her close on the cot.

[You don't have to do this. You're forgetting one important aspect of this ability - I know exactly how you're feeling. I don’t want to get rid of this power, Gina…and something tells me you don’t, either] You say, brushing the hair back from her brow with the hand that isn't held against the small of her back before you deliver a gentle kiss to her forehead. You tilt Gina's chin up with thumb and forefinger until you're staring into her deep hazel eyes, swimming with emotion.

[You know why it would have never worked out between me and Isabelle, even if she hadn't run off into the wasteland?] You ask, and Gina gives you a small shake of her head, sending a lock of brown hair tumbling down from where you pushed it back. [Because she put me on a pedestal. To her I'm this perfect being of compassion and good who could never hate anyone. She couldn't see me as a person, with my own selfish desires, but just this ideal. Even after she caved in my skull in a lovelorn rage, she still clung to this image she had of who I was rather than seeing me for who I actually am. I just wish I had said something sooner, maybe I could have formed a genuine relationship with her]

[So let's not repeat that mistake this time. Gina. I'm not so selfless that I would accept a bond like this and never express discomfort with it just because I'm too nice. All those feelings I can sense coming off from you about why you don't want to lose the connection? I'm feeling them too. I like what we have, Gina. This honesty, this understanding, this trust... it's not one-sided at all, it's an actual partnership. Knowing that I've got someone beside me that I can rely on...it's really nice. If you're scared that you're just using me, don't be. I get as much out of this as you do]

She shakes her head dismissively, turning to the window before you take her chin and bring her eyes to meet yours once more.

(Continued)
>>
>>3490024

[I'm serious. I know that the Crimson Cord wasn't something that I asked for, and it wasn't something you planned for either. Mother springs these things on us, we can't control that. But just because it was unexpected doesn't mean it isn't a good thing. Sure, it's a bit new and scary at times, but it has a lot of benefits, too]

"Shu, I almost killed you." Gina chokes out, fighting back tears as she speaks aloud. "If I can do that just through touch what happens if I'm selfish again and I do something with my Neuromancy? Or my terror field, or...fuck, any of the weird shit I can do?!"

[I completely understand that this power is a two-way street] You say, the tone you project into her mind calm I could very well use it to use and abuse you myself. But you trust me not to. You trust me to support you and raise you higher in every way, and I think I should trust you to do the same]

[The fact that you reflected on what happened and want to sacrifice this for my wellbeing shows to me that you're a better person than you think. You're not like B'ni, you actually reflect on your actions and try to be better than you were before. Horrible people don't worry about whether or not they're a horrible person]

"I spent twenty years without introspecting about what a selfish bitch I've been, and now I'm using you as a crutch to try and make myself a better person!" She fires back, trying to press her point through the waves of fear that crash against your empathic field. "I should be able to do this on my own, without leaning on you and fucking up left and righ..."

[You made a mistake, Gina, but that doesn't make you a bad person, it makes you human. We all have our flaws, and the fact that you want to try and fix them says way more about you than you realize...but I also think that destroying the Crimson Cord may be running away from the problem rather than facing it. As people, we never stop growing, and this could also help you trust yourself. To become a better, stronger person. It's only fair that you should believe in yourself as well]

"Why should I?" She asks miserably.

You simply smile.

"Because I believe in you."

(Continued)
>>
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>>3490027

Slowly, finally, she begins to relax into your arms. You're uncertain how long the two of you sit like that, staring out the window as you run a hand through her voluminous hair and feeling the rise and fall of her chest. You think she's fallen asleep until she shifts, moving to look at you after rubbing her left cheek with the back of her hand.

"I promise I'm not usually this weepy. I hope you don't think I'm...lame, or whatever." She laughs softly, and you smile when you wipe her other cheek.

"Nah, you're still really cool. Besides, it's the apocalypse." You reply, arcing an eyebrow at her. "I think everyone's allowed to get upset about this whole situation."

"I could feel how things went with Uzu." She says as her face falls, her voice solemn. "We can't stay here, can we?"

You just run your hand through her hair as you heave a heavy sigh.

No.

No, you can't.

>>Wrap up by going to the Forge with Gina to talk with Magpie, and finally destroy West's Relics.

>>Speaking of the dreamscape, if she wants to talk to Kosi there's one or two Daughters you'd like to touch base with before continuing on.

>>Your team is in decent spirits and you're ready to continue on. You trust the Monastery to remain standing for the time being, and with your new abilities you're far more confident in your chances (Choose your team, destination, and who will stay behind and where).

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3490031
>>Wrap up by going to the Forge with Gina to talk with Magpie, and finally destroy West's Relics.
its time we put to rest one last loose end before we go out. plus, maybe we can get Magpie to tag along again, or at least have a proper goodbye if she wishes to be alone, which she does seem to be the type.
>>
>>3490031
>Speaking of the dreamscape, if she wants to talk to Kosi there's one or two Daughters you'd like to touch base with before continuing on.
>You haven't met Bella yet.
>Try to find Sam wherever she may be in your psyche. There are some things you should probably talk about.
>>
(Gentlemen, I shall be pausing here for the evening. Posting shall pick up the pace throughout the week similarly to the last Vein, with voting closing in thirteen hours and posting to resume in fifteen. It's great to be back, and thank you all for your participation and amazing write-in as always. I shall be around to address questions, concerns, and criticisms as usual, and I hope you have a fantastic evening.)
>>
>>3490031
>>Wrap up by going to the Forge with Gina to talk with Magpie, and finally destroy West's Relics.

Bring Gina with us, as we want to save the Daughters trapped in the relics if we can.
>>
>>3490074
actually, thats an interesting note. Niku said Phantasmal Conduit, not Neuromancer, and Julias aswell is one now too.

unless she means Core ability only in which case we cant do nothing with anyone.

>>3490067
thanks as always, have a wonderful evening yourself.
>>
>>3490067
Thanks for running today BHOP, have a great night!
>>
>>3490031
THIS >>3490057
Talk to Bella, get the lowdown from Kosi, then confront uber-THOT
>>
>>3490083
Even if it means Core, we're in possibly the most populated place we know exists, could always ask around.
>>
>>3490031
>>Wrap up by going to the Forge with Gina to talk with Magpie, and finally destroy West's Relics.
>>
>>3490031
>>>Wrap up by going to the Forge with Gina to talk with Magpie, and finally destroy West's Relics.

>>3490057
I don't think we have anything to gain from speaking to the remnants of Sam. There wasn't really anything remarkable about her except for her ability to manipulate and, whilst that could be helpful in saving the monastery, she's not the most cooperative. What do you want to talk with her about?
>>
>>3490173
You know what would be an absolutely horrible thing to do if we ever got the Neuromancer and Phantasmal Conduit abilities needed for it? Transfer the remains of Sam to B'Ni across our link. Have the memories of Sam as she actually was poison Isabelle's idealized version. Hopefully we can talk B'Ni down before things get so bad that we need to hurt her that badly.
>>
Tactics/Waiter anon here. Back from work. What did I miss?
>>
>>3490203
We had a talk with Gina, seem to have mostly assuaged her self-doubt for the time being.
>>
>>3490173
I mostly want to talk to her about B'ni and confront her about the things she did. Get more information on the whole mess from her perspective to be better prepared for later, tactically and diplomatically.
>>
>>3490150
True, though either at a high cost id bet, or they van only go to the Conduit.

We shall see.

>>3490184
Interesting idea though, wondering how much it would work. Technically she already sorta knows, she just ignores how Sam was. Maybe shoving them back in fresh would still force her to see them clearly/differently though?
>>
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>>3490031

You rise, taking Gina by the hand and leading her back out into the main hall, with the heat and fury of the Forge felt by the two of you even at the far end of the corridor leading to the raging hearth. You share a look with Gina, feeling the paired weight of the Relics at your side. She squeezes your hand, and with that the two of you enter the stifling room as one.

As your eyes adjust to the glow filling every inch of the space, you see that the sniper’s been busy. A bandolier of freshly-forged rounds lay atop a nearby plinth, next to which rests a tall crystalline glass filled with some sort of green-orange substance. Magpie’s crouched by the hearth, a quintet of hovering eyes rotating to look at you as you enter.

“What’cha got there?” Gina asks, craning her neck around your shoulder to peer at the shining rounds that glint in the Forge’s firelight.

“A smoothie.” Magpie replies, using a pair of calcite pincers to pluck another shell from the hearth as she turns round to face you. Her stark, gaunt features are rendered even more eerie by the light of the fire behind her, and as she unfolds to her full height she looms over you, resembling more a tree lit by a forest fire than anything comfortably human.

“We came to destroy a pair of relics.” You explain, pulling the Spine and Nail from your dress. Her disembodied eyes draw closer, examining the pair of abominable creations you hold outstretched. “Do you think I’d be able to find a Conduit here to help me free the Daughters that’re trapped in these?”

“Hard to say.” Magpie muses, striding over to her creations and running hand over their cooling shells. “Conduits are a solitary bunch, by and large. It’s the nature of their abilities, with the emotional field, creepy constructs, and all that. They carry their friends with them in a manner of speaking, so the odds are quite low you’d find one here.”

(Continued)
>>
>>3491255

“I’ll keep looking, then.” You reply as you step forwards to admire her handiwork, with Gina going around the opposite side of the table to inspect the rounds with her sharp hazel eyes. “Where are you headed after this, Magpie?”

“I thought I’d stay around here a little while. Maybe wait to see if Mara shows up, share a smoothie, shoot the shit about our recent hunts.” She replies, her lips pursed in a thin, razor-like smile. “I hear she’s hunting a legend, as we speak.”

“…I wish her luck, then.” You reply, your stomach sinking a fraction at the reminder of who she’s chasing.

“And yourself?” Magpie counters, placing the tongs back where she found them in the corner of the room. “Continuing west, or exploring the other corners of the world that was?”

“Not sure, yet.” You reply, watching Gina’s eyes glitter with curiosity, curiously entranced by Magpie’s newborn bullets. “It’s either north of the river to the Disassociated Ones or west to Carroll’s Forest, at this rate.”

Gina’s brow furrows, tentatively reaching out to run a finger across the length of one silvery round, the end of a jack barely peeking out of the digit. Her eyes go wide when an amethyst spark arcs from jack to bullet, and her gaze snaps to yours as Magpie chuckles.

“Careful.” The assassin hums, staring down with empty sockets as she plucks her smoothing from table and takes a delicate sip. “They have one hell of a bite.”

Gina reaches across your bond, concern thick in her voice as she puts on the veneer of a smile to the raven-haired sniper that looms over her.

{Shu, these bullets were made to kill a very specific class of Daughter} She says, streaming what she’s found directly into your consciousness. The tongue that rests in your chest cavity tightens at what you’ve learned.

They’ve been crafted to deal catastrophically lethal damage against Flesh Artisans, specifically…

…and you have a feeling you know exactly who Magpie intends to use them on.

>>Stay silent. You don’t want to assume what Magpie’s trying to do, and even though you have a sinking feeling that you know who her next target is, you don’t know if they’re simple insurance or something more…proactive.

>>Confront Magpie. If she’s made these things to use against Uzu now or later, you have something to say about it. You think you have a shot to help the Monastery stay together, to continue things in a better way, but what she’s made…they’ll only bring things to an end.

AND

>>Wait on doing anything with the Relics until you can find a friendly Phantasmal Conduit to try and draw out the Daughters within. They’ve been through hell, and deserve a second chance.

>>Go ahead and destroy the Relics. These Daughters deserve some peace after what West put them through.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
Okay, so Anti-Spiral Bullets. Nasty. I'd like to think that Magpie can be trusted to only keep them as a precaution, she seems too cautious to assassinate Uzu and risk destabilizing things. But then again, we've only really known her for a day. So the real question is whether it's worth risking offending her by bringing up "Hey, you're not going to assassinate Uzu, right?".
>>
(Voting shall remain open for the next two hours, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3491257
Question BHOP. If Gina has levels in Phantasmal Conduit, then is she capable of extracting the daughters herself? I mean I kinda figured that the true nature of the Neurotic Halo relic/skill tree is supposed to be used to amplify Phantasmal Conduit abilities in a Neuromancer.
>>3491316
They'll still pack a nasty punch if they hit someone other than Uzu. It directly targets Daughters who have Flesh Artisans as their Core class. Hitting Niku would make things worse since she declared that she'll stay with Uzu no matter what. If the ForgeMistress and the Monastery Head Nun go down together, this will start the chain reaction that everyone's dreading.
>>
>>3491326
(Someone with a Core of Conduit has an innately high chance of saving the Daughters within items. However, thanks to the combination of the Halo, her Neuromancy, and the points in Conduit, there is a small chance Gina could make it happen and absorb the Daughters herself, though transferring them to someone or something else would be out of the question.)
>>
>>3491257
>>Stay silent. You don’t want to assume what Magpie’s trying to do, and even though you have a sinking feeling that you know who her next target is, you don’t know if they’re simple insurance or something more…proactive.

I'm thinking shes not the type to kill a clear friend just cause, even if they aren't the closest of friends. But she also is the pragmatic type. We gave her a cute gift and she only saw it as a better cleaning tool. What she sees is someone who might fall to the hunger who cant be left in such a state if she does, or so i hope is what this is.

>Have Gina and Julia team up to see if they cant rescue the daughters, but if not destroy them.
Waiting on finding a friendly core PC could be one hell of a wait...
>>
>>3491326
>They'll still pack a nasty punch if they hit someone other than Uzu. It directly targets Daughters who have Flesh Artisans as their Core class.
No, I get that, I just wanted to say "Anti-Spiral Bullets".

Okay, so >>3491347 is probably right. Magpie seems at least friendly with Uzu, even if she might not consider her a friend. This is probably just another test in her mind. If Uzu manages to keep it together, she's proven herself. If not, Magpie has some special bullets handy. Magpie wants to hang out here at least long enough to meet up with Mara again, she's not going to go straight to "kill the new Abbess". Maybe we might leave her with a comment not to screw things up by shooting to early, but I think it is just a precaution.
>>
>>3491257
Don't confront Magpie about it in a hostile fashion. If Magpie is the pragmatic sort, then we could get more information by being on the same wavelength as her.
>"Yikes, I hope they don't cause a hell of a mess for your gun too. Here's some swarmlings to clean your gun with."

>Spawn a few half-fuzzy swarmlings and be on your way.
>Said half-fuzzy swarmlings have messages on their abdomen:
>"Niku wants to save Uzu, potential for collateral damage: high."
>"Wrong shot will cause Hunger chain reaction in Monastery."
>"Will attempt to convince Niku to step up or stabilize Uzu's mind."
>"Requesting one bullet for close range."
>"Less chances of collateral."
>"S.O.S signal on swarmling = SNAFU."
>Also, said swarmlings won't cooperate with Magpie until she's read the message.

The implication behind this is that Shu is willing to collaborate with Magpie by offering herself as the one to shoot Uzu, in exchange for having Magpie follow Shu's plan of trying to help the Monastery stay together. This will allow Shu and co. to try their attempt at saving Uzu.

>Wait until Gina and Julia have advanced in Conduit levels before they try their rescue attempt.
>>
>>3491450
Magpie might not like that. Like i said, shes pragmatic. We either confront her directly or we do not at all in my opinion.
>>
>>3491428
the whole thing with "tests" and crows strangely remind me of the shenanigans Odin of Norse Mythos would go about. But since that Odin isn't a fitting name for Magpie, I think Muninn would be a better Moniker for her.
>>
>>3491466
you may have a point about that, but what I'm doing is letting her know the situation better. She might have more information, but the circumstances for her to make the perfect sniper shot gets muddled unknown elements get in the way.
>>
>>3491466
On the other hand, she is apparently at least a little fond of mind games.
>>
>>3491478
No, i mean, i already put out my vote, but what I mean is, she wont like us being indirect and putting those messages on the swarmlings. If we wish to talk to her about it, i think we should do it with actual words, otherwise she might not like it as despite being a sniper, when it comes to people shes pretty straight forward.
>>
>>3491480
Not entirely true. She did test us, but that was because of what she had heard from mara. Keep in mind, when we told her we dont like test or games after that, she said she didn't either and to stay away from mara if we didn't.
>>
>>3491485
Ah... Well in that case.
>>3491450
Amending my vote.
>>Stay silent. You don’t want to assume what Magpie’s trying to do, and even though you have a sinking feeling that you know who her next target is, you don’t know if they’re simple insurance or something more…proactive.

>Wait until Julia or Gina have advanced in Conduit levels before they try their rescue attempt.
I'm cutting out the swarmling messages.
>>
>>3491485
Ah, good point. Still, I don't want to just leave it at nothing. Maybe a "Nasty. I hope you never have to use them" in a tone that conveys that we understand her intent.
>>
>>3491528
Hrm, maybe. I cant think of a good way to word it myself is the thing.
>>
>>3491257
>"Niku wants to save Uzu, by the way. Just so you know. And if it comes to the worst case, Gina and I can force our way into Uzu's mind to see what's wrong, so don't hesitate to call if needed."
>Wait on doing anything with the Relics until you can find a friendly Phantasmal Conduit to try and draw out the Daughters within. They’ve been through hell, and deserve a second chance.
>>
>>3491537
How about "Ouch. Looks like you could cause a lot of collateral damage with those things. I hope things never get so bad you have to use them." Conveys disapproval with impulsive use of them but tacitly acknowledging that they might be needed.
>>
>>3491553
I guess my worry is like i said to the other anon. She just feels like the type who either wants us to say what we think she has them for, or just shut our lips. Finding a middle ground for people like her is difficult.
>>
>>3491553
>>3491537
what about: "Make those shots count if you have to use them, but know that there's other methods to solving a situation."
>>
>>3491560
Also while she isn't dumb her blunt, straight forward nature might make her slightly misconstrue what we say just as much as dislike our passive agressive approach.

Im just imagining her raising an eyebrow saying ' all my shots cause collateral damage, remember?'

Sorry not trying to diss on your ideas or anything, its just its a pretty damn sensitive topic here with a very... peculiar character, lets just say, so it feels like if were gonna sat anything we gotta be careful what that is.

>>3491562
A bit better yes.
>>
>>3491568
Actually, you know what? You're right. We're Shu the Defiant. Magpie likes that we have a spine. Let's just come out and be blunt. "I understand why you are making those bullets, and while I appreciate that you're taking precautions I'm hoping that's all they remain. Niku has a plan, let's let her take her shot before you take yours."
>>
>>3491575
Thats...ok yeah
>>3491347
Ill change my vote on what to say to her to support saying that. If we're gonna say something, we gotta be upfront about it, and i can see why some dont want to stay silent. Hopefully we wont throw our relationship with her under the bus but maybe its a risk we need to take.
>>
>>3491495
>>3491257
Amending my vote:
>Confront Magpie about it.
>"Those bullets, I know who its for. I hope you never have to use them. Shoot the wrong Flesh Artisan with them, the whole Monastery goes into a Hunger chain reaction like a house of cards and we end up with a Nautilus-themed Colossus Daughter Amalgam."
>"Niku wants to save Uzu. Let her have a shot at stabilizing Uzu's mind."
>>3491575
>>
>>3491257
>>Write-In
>"So I think I've got an idea why you're making these, Magpie, and while I appreciate that you're taking precautions I'm hoping they'll prove unnecessary. Niku has some ideas on how to get Uzu's head on straight, let's let her take her shot before you take yours. Unless I've misjudged the situation and you've got someone else in mind, in which case I apologize for the presumption."

>>Wait on doing anything with the Relics until you can find a friendly Phantasmal Conduit to try and draw out the Daughters within. They’ve been through hell, and deserve a second chance.
Whether through recruiting an ally or our current party members getting higher levels.
>>
Eh, i guess i get why everyone wants to wait on the relics, i guess i just dont like the idea of leaving them in there any longer being constantly tortured, but i see the point of saving them being the better option; if we can find it as it were.
>>
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>>3491257

You stand a little straighter, hoping that you’ve gauged Magpie well enough to where what you’re about to say doesn’t backfire.

"I understand why you are making those bullets, and while I appreciate that you're taking precautions I'm hoping that's all they remain.” You state defiantly as Magpie regards you impassively, unblinking eyes hovering around empty sockets. “Niku has a plan, so let's let her take her shot before you take yours."

All you hear is your own heartbeat in the long moment that stretches between your request and her forthcoming reply, her face utterly inscrutable. You let out a fraction of the breath you were holding when that razorblade of a smile creeps across her lips, her sharp shoulders bobbing in a silent chuckle.

“I can’t tell you how entertaining it is to watch you straddle the line between Alpha Bitch and Mother Theresa.” Magpie says with an amused sigh. “Alright, Shu the Defiant. You win. I’ll exercise some trigger discipline and see how things play out. So tell me; what’re you going to do with those?”

You follow her lines of sight to the Relics you have clutched in your fists, relaxing your grip on them now that the situation’s been diffused somewhat.

“You’ve just been holding on to them for the past few minutes. Going to give them peace, or...?” She trails off.

“The Daughters inside these have been through hell and deserve a second chance, so I’ll wait until we have the resources to give them one.” You reply with after a pause, and once they’re tucked back inside your dress you extend your hand to her in a gesture of camaraderie. “We’ll be heading out soon, but I’ll see you around, Magpie.”

“Likewise, Shu. It’s been a pleasure.” She replies, and in spite of her still sporting that damn unnerving razor-smile across her lips, you feel something close to warmth across the empathic channel. With that, you and Gina leave the sniper to her work and after a bit of searching, you find your allies gathered in the sparring room. Julia and Amara bear witness to Rath and Dorian exchanging some sporting fisticuffs, the ever-dapper Dorian having rolled up his sleeves despite them being a part of his new body, while Rath’s handicapped herself to just her two native arms to make things fair.

At your approach, Dorian disengages to give you a bow of respect, while Rath makes due with a salute after a quick, playful jab at the painter’s shoulder. Julia and Amara greet you with a gentle smile and an enthusiastic wave respectively, clearly pleased to see you and Gina in high spirits.

The gang’s all here, and at your command; so where do you go from here?

>>Depart for (Disassociated Ones/Carroll’s Forest), and choose who you’ll take, where the others will stay, and what they’ll do while you’re away.

>>There are still one or two things you’d like to do while you have a moment of relative peace (Write-In).

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3491709
Right, so my thoughts are;

>Carroll's Forest
>Gina, Amara, Rath join party
>Dorian and Julia both work to setup the mountain town as a more permanent base(for us at least), and also keep watch on the monastery. Also keep an eye out for a Phantasmal Conduit that looks trustworthy and/or we can barter with.
Here me out, we need Gina to transverse it for sure, but it sounds like a very tricky area in which having Amara and her unique abilities could also come in very handy. Rath because we have a pretty solid plan for her and she's the last to need her choice, so good thing to shoot for.

But if we go to the...

>The Dissociated Ones
>Whoever wishes to meet them joins party
>With the stipulation whoever stays behind does the same as above.
HOWEVER, im also worried about our connection to Isabelle, and want that severed. Entering into a wonderland forest while we might switch bodies at any time? Oof, that sounds risky. But i also understand we have put off progress towards the cord for awhile and not everyone agrees on cutting it. Also because of their unique status as another hopefully friendly group, i thought it less important to have a party based on need so much as based on who actually wants to be there. If they dont, probably best not to bring them anyway (coughrathcough).

As it is, id prefer to cut the tie to Isabelle but understand if we want to wait and make that decision later.

For now, im going with the DOs, but im up for discussing the choice of course.
>>
>>3491709
>“I can’t tell you how entertaining it is to watch you straddle the line between Alpha Bitch and Mother Theresa.”
Um wow. I don't even know how to react to that. Is that a compliment or an insult?
>>
>>3491726
(It's as good a compliment as one can get from someone like Magpie.)
>>
>>3491723
I'm personally inclined towards the Dissociated Ones. Even if we don't sever the connection to B'Ni, we can still get a consultation on the process. Learn more from them about any side-effects of being connected, how much we have to worry. Plus, I want to see the cyborgs. So much technology was destroyed by the Crucible's formation, to the point that I'm pretty sure it was an intentional process rather than just accidental. Like was pointed out a while back, there are a ton of guns in the US and there should be more Daughters running around with weapons they didn't grow out of their bodies. But that would probably unbalance the meta, so Mother removed them. I want to find out where the Dissociated Ones found enough working technology to actually turn themselves into cyborgs. November said she found her tank in a museum, is it all refurbished antiques?
>>
>>3491723
I'd also like to get moving but I'm concerned at how close the Monastery is to falling apart. Would hate to leave and find that Uzu's snapped and the place is in chaos, especially if Niku is killed, since Niku consuming Uzu seems to be the most promising way to save the Monastery if we can't stop Uzu succumbing. Is there nothing we can do now to force a resolution? Maybe have Niku ask Uzu if she can look in her head or help in some other way, while we and Magpie wait out of sight in case things go sideways. Thoughts?
>>
(Voting shall remain open for the next two hours, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3491791
It honestly just feels out of our hands now to me. We never were close to those important to the monastery, and have done what i think we can because of that.
>>
Oh, well is a bit late now i guess, as Magpie is holding up the forge, but upgrading Sui Tormentis and/or making Gina and Amara their fuzzbuzz companions is an option. Might be our best chance, we, uhh, could come back to a mess, even if it hasn't collapsed upon said return.
>>
>>3491813
I see where you're coming from and I agree that at this point what will happen between Uzu and Niku will happen whether we meddle or not. It's just that if it does go badly, which unfortunately seems likely, it would be best if it happened while we are here, so it might be a good idea to nudge it into happening immediately.
>>
I think that if we're not going to Carrol's Woods and need a Neuromancer to get us through safely, then Gina should be part of the team fortifying the town. Terraforming for rearranging the terrain, and the Red Cord to keep in touch with Shu's party. I'd say send Dorian with her, too, he's a strong fighter who can keep her safe and his little inklings (bloodlings, now?) can keep watch. Maybe even help her by moving things around like a cute workforce of toxic blood gremlins.
>>
>>3491886
That sounds...kinda dickish? I mean trying to force it to happen. Good or bad, it feels like we should let it happen in its own time, naturally, especially said good, as trying to force it might turn it bad.

Plus, if it goes bad now, we're fucked. Our (potential) plan to take in those we deem trustworthy isnt an easy thing to set up, that takes time. Any sudden need to take in refugees too quickly with no actual place for them to go properly setup, will just lead to said new place being even worse.

Unless you just want to abandon literally everyone if things go south, which sounds like a dick move if we literally just forced it to happen.

>>3491896
I get what you're saying, but for the DOs im without a doubt but t budging on letting them decide IC. Its just not justified in my mind to plan for a fight nor force someone who really doesn't want to meet then to, unlike in more Combat oreinted situations.(not that we force anyone to go mind you, but i cant think of how to word that better)
>>
>>3491813
>>3491886
>>3491902
And this is the sort of thing that makes me antsy. Knowing something bad is on the horizon but can't do anything about it because of lack of investment.
>>
>>3491912
Like it was said earlier. We're and adventuring party. We are not really suited to dealing with these kinda situations.

If the monestary needed help with hostile amalgams or daughters or for us to retrieve and item or something, we could be on top of that like it was nothing. But solving a crumbling societies leadership issues so it doesn't collapse and end in dozens if not hundreds of deaths...or worse? Not exactly what we are built to do.
>>
>>3491912
Yeah, it's a bad situation, but I'm just not sure what we can do right this moment. Maybe in another in-universe day, after Niku's had the chance to soothe Uzu over, we can talk to her again and try to patch things up and offer assistance in a way that won't get her freaking out again. But for now, we're really not much help.
>>
>>3491709
>>Depart for (Disassociated Ones/Carroll’s Forest), and choose who you’ll take, where the others will stay, and what they’ll do while you’re away.
Head to the Disassociated Ones. In-character have a discussion on "hey, who wants to meet the cyborgs?" and let that inform the party structure but out of character I'd expect Rath and Julia to want to come along and so suggest them being in the party. Rath because she appreciates machines and Julia because she appreciates body modification. I'm impartial as to our fourth party member, but I do think that if we send the remaining members to work on the town then we should have Gina there to take advantage of terraforming. Flip a coin to see if that makes our final part member Amara or Dorian, either one would be useful at the town (Amara for assisting with shaping terrain, Dorian for standing guard), though I admit to preferring Doria stay with Gina because he's more combat-capable than Amara is.
>>
>>3491709
>Carroll's Forest
>Gina, Rath, Dorian

>>3491902
I don't think we know them well enough to judge how things happening sooner or later will affect the outcome. And just to clarify, I didn't mean to intentionally force a bad outcome, just to encourage Niku to try talking things out while we are still around. Regardless, your point about needing more time to set up our backup plan has persuaded me that we're better off delaying for now.
>>
>>3491972
Rath actually got pretty pissed off recently at the prospect of interacting with the DOs. She didn't like them over how they treated November i think.

Though whether or not that means she wouldn't want to come i dunno, might mean she wants to come for the wrong type of reason though.
>>
>>3491986
Shit, you're right, I forgot. I guess I'm just eager to have Rath get some more screentime. Okay, then, Dorian/Julia/Amara for our party, with Rath and Gina hanging out at the town and fortifying it? Rath is still a good bodyguard for our support classes, and maybe she could do welding or something with her fire.
>>
>>3491992
You vote how you want, like i said, im leaving it up to them IC as i feel that makes the most sense, and i also want to actually see who IC will go for said open option.
>>
>>3491709

>Depart for Carroll’s Forest alone, tell the others to build fortifications while you're gone
>>
>>3492042
Alone? Now that's just silly.
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>>3492042
(Heh.)
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>>3492054
>>3492042
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>>3492050
im 70% certain its a troll. Congrats BHOP, this is how you know you've made it big, i think you've got a dedicated troll now.
>>
>>3492060
(If it's the same person as posted the first reply in this Vein, then I'm still kicking myself for forgetting to have Amara question aloud why no one has to go to the bathroom in the Fleshscape.)
>>
>>3492065
Look, Amara, our bodies are already breaking conservation of mass pretty hard. Where is Rath storing all those extra arms? Nowhere, they just pop out of her when she wants them. It's only fair that some mass vanish to make up for the mass we create ex nihilo, I'm not going to complain if that makes hygiene easier.
>>
>>3492065
>"Shhh....It's magic."
Also. The thought of the poop-socking and bathroom breaks would somewhat be hilarious and gross if Mother forgot to put in the global patch that made sure that no one had bathroom problems.
>>
>>3492065
I just assumed perfected cannibalism being our only sustenance had at least one benefit.
>>
(Writing now, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3492147
(Gentlemen, work had a uptick in activity at the close of the day, so I shall resume writing once I arrive home. Thank you for your patience and participation, and take care.)
>>
>>3492285
No problem, BHOP. See you later.
>>
You know, something comes to my mind regarding the bleedover effect from Isabelle. If we are going to keep the connection with her, we'll need to set up a system that lets our friends know that the bleedover episode is happening and how to behave accordingly. It seems like there's always a slight delay that happens (enough time for a swift action) before the bleedover begins to take effect.
I'm thinking having Shu take the necklace that B'ni gifted to her and wear it out in the open when she feels a bleedover happening.
>>
>>3492559
i think the main issue has been, we feel something is wrong but its often not something we immediately connect to being us switching over to Isabelles perspective, as the situation Isabelle is in effects what we feel in the first place.

that being said, im trying to get us to cut the connection so ill admit my say in this probably shouldn't hold as much weight, though said mention above is still a thing.
>>
>>3492570
well then we should be able to figure it out by the time we have our third episode. The symptoms of the bleedover seem to be a sensation disconnection along with a growing headache followed by synchronizing emotions.
>>
>>3492581
Gina may be able to help with Neurotic Halo's latest upgrade.

>NEUROTIC HALO (Lvl 7): Gina’s control over the dreamscape intensifies, allowing her advantage on any attempts to break through an imposed dreamstate or hallucination inflicted by Daughter and Amalgam alike. Additionally, she may freely summon up to three consumed Daughters to her aide in the dreamscape to help her in freeing her allies from an imposed dreamstate, with a small chance of leveling up the summoned Daughters’ abilities after they participate in combat. Gone, but far from forgotten. (BIO +10%)

Whatever we're getting from the bleedover effect isn't quite a hallucination, but I figure it's probably close enough that she could try to help us through Crimson Cord. Though if it did work, can you imagine what that would look like to Isabelle? It would be great if it resulted in her hallucinating the assisting Daughters showing up to tell her to stop being so stupid.
>>
>>3492589
it sounded more like literal consciousness/body swapping, at least long term. more akin to if Gina could(though she mildly can) use her cords to fully hijack another daughter and see through their eyes.

ig nothing else, like was said earlier, maybe the DOs can at least explain how it works to us. before hopefully digging it out of our head, but i suppose we cross that decision bridge when we get there. knowing more about it cant hurt regardless of said decision though.
>>
>>3492594
My guess is that it's less swapping and more merging. One mind in two bodies, probably having lost its sanity in the process. And then given how Daughter flesh works, I wouldn't be surprised if both bodies would wind up fusing together, even if physically separate. And then you get something like the Conglomerate, on a smaller scale.

Actually, shouldn't the Monastery have some information on how to manage such a bond, now that I think about it? Mara and Magpie got linked after three months of close contact. There have to be friendships among the Sisters that have lasted that long. Maybe the meditation they do to keep off the Hunger prevents the bonds from forming in the first place, though, and so they have no knowledge of how to treat it afterwards. Or maybe since there are so many people in close proximity the link can't form because it gets confused by having too many targets.
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>>3492615
good point, though i feel like if that was the case, Magpie and Mara wouldn't of had to go to the DOs to remove/control it. the issue for them was less having it and more they said it started happening more and more often and inopportune times if i remember. suddenly switching bodies, even with someone you trust, could be a pretty big hassle i imagine.
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>>3492615
So you're saying we're experiencing what the Ripper Engine was originally designed to do. A slow fusion of mind, body, and soul. Except that it's done over a long period of time. Should we let Isabelle know about the bleed-over effect?
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>>3492615
>>3492621
i do have to say i dont think its an actual merge though. but who knows. id imagine its a side effect of mothers shitty trouble shooting, and the fact everyone is made of the same stuff now, including everyone's brain. throw in all the innate neuromancer stuff even with those not neuromancers(Mothers ability to talk to anyone, everyone having the dreamscape, etc) and id imagine its that if you hang around someone long enough, especially if you trust them(though Magpie implied even if you dont) i can see things starting to get confused on whos is supposed to be in what as it was.

>>3492622
>let isabelle know
ha, haha, no. no. i dont trust her in our body at all. not one fucking bit. Ginas life at least would instantly be in danger for sure, i guarantee it.
>>
>>3492621
We know about how the bleedover effect happens over long-distances, but how would it happen over short distances when two people with bleedover with each other are within arm's length?
>>3492615
So if the bleedover effect is a link between daughters over time, then what about the Crimson Cord between Shu and Gina? wouldn't that be the permanent/active equivalent of the Bleedover effect?
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>>3492633
well, Magpie and Mara were pretty close, but all they ever got was what we have, though implied to be at a later stage(both swapping and more frequently).

unless distance effects how fast it grows and how often it happens, it seems to make no difference.

as for the Cord, its an ability, so id imagine it follows different rules. the bleedover effect seems to either be a mechanic meant to dissuade long term relationships, or an accidental side effect of other mechanics. the bleedover also works very differently, sorta.

the Cord is an always active two way mind and emotion reading tool, with some ability sharing. the bleedover is a forced, uncontrollable body-swapping, or at least tag along ride where you gain some influence. ill admit not the most major of differences but at the end of it that fine line does make a big difference. the Cord also cant be upgraded, though that is a common trait with the choice actually if you look at the classes descriptions.(many are basically just augments to the core or change its forward path.)
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>>3492645
>the bleedover effect seems to either be a mechanic meant to dissuade long term relationships
pfft. the term Humans are bastards come to mind. Why would Mom even need to install the bleedover mechanic intentionally when she could simply place a loot/relic equivalent to a shiny rare loot drop/hat cosmetic and watch the bloodbath happen?
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>>3492649
i was kinda just putting forth options, but you are right. plus consuming long term allies already has extra advantages anyways.

maybe its kinda a secondary safeguard. if the extra ACT and second Core ability isnt enough for you to eventually consume your ally, then eventually that bond you share that stopped you will literally becomes a hindrance to both of you that could get you killed if you dont put an end to it, and considering the DOs are not meant to be a thing, well...leaves the option of how to end it pretty clear.

just a possibility though, like i said could be unintentional too.
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>>3491709

“Show of hands, who’s up for visiting the Disassociated?” You ask, with Rath and Amara’s hands immediately shooting skyward and Gina’s remaining lowered, to your surprise. You turn to her as you see Julia and Dorian exchange whispers a short distance away, and Gina beats you to the punch with an explanation.

“I trust how you said you feel about this bond, so if it’s cool by you I’d like to work on making Amara’s hometown a little more habitable in case of…y'know, reasons.” She explains, her voice pointedly dropping in volume at the last part. You nod, and your resident artists cease their hushed conversation as Dorian strides up to you, giving GG a respectful bow before addressing you.

“Miss Shu, it would be my honor to guard Gina and work alongside her to renovate the town.” He states solemnly, and you share a suspicious glance with Gina until his reasoning dawns on you.

“Ah, we’d both appreciate that, Dorian.” You say, putting a hand on his shoulder before you lean in to whisper close. “Great way to score some brownie points, too.”

“I’m quite sure I don’t know what you mean.” He replies with a sheepish smirk, and Gina’s face lights up at the prospect of interrogating Dorian about his crush. You give her a tight, quick hug before she and Dorian walk off, with Gina launching into gossip the moment Julia and the rest of you are out of earshot.

Thus you, Rath, Julia, and Amara take the distressingly empty waystation to the one near West's burnt-out lab, exiting and reaching the river's mercilessly acidic edge in no time. Northward, shining peaks glisten in the yellowed light of the fleshscape, a jagged, rocky cast stretching the length of the way to where the Disassociated ones lie.

The rest of your team forges onwards as you take a moment to cast your gaze across the gently lapping waves of the River of Tears, whose corrosive depths you survived thanks to the bond between you and the brunette that's working tirelessly to be a better person. You're wondering how Ceres and her group are faring when Amara shouts over to you, waving wide with both arms to beckon you to rejoin your group in their journey across the forbidding shore.

Julia takes point at her insistence, with Amara close at hand and occasionally throwing out the odd question to the surrounding fleshscape when she's not watching Rath shadow-box in front of you, the lithe brawler intent on a training regiment that exists only in her head.

(Continued)
>>
>>3492684

It strikes you that you’re traveling in a group you haven’t really spoken with in the time you’ve had them by your side. A cool breeze wafts from the river's gentle undulating surface as you pick your way across the rough terrain, trying to remember the last time you really took the time to talk to Rath...the last time she opened up to you was when she almost died at the hand of Bella Nervosa's acidic waves, and while you've been keen on respecting her request for privacy you also have to wonder if she'd be willing to open up a bit now that you've known each other for a little longer than when you first started out.

With Julia, you've never really had anything resembling a heart-to-heart during your travels, as the closest thing you had to one was when you left for the swamp, when you thought it would be a while before your journey brought you back to her welcoming homestead. She's been holding together surprisingly well, having come into her own both as a friend and a fighter, and you know without a shadow of a doubt that if she hadn't been by your side when you fought the Fetid Conglomerate then it would have doubtlessly claimed one or more of your allies.

As for Amara...well, there's a lot you don't know about her. You have a few guesses as to what she experienced before all this, but so far she's been quite content to live for the here and now, and as gruesome as her surroundings may be she seems quite at ease in the apocalypse.

...Meanwhile, there exists within you a key to your past, a ghost of ill-remembered history that's done a great deal to shape the struggles you face in your present. You're not quite sure if there's anything there to contact...and even if there exists some remnant of your past self within this body, is it a thing you even want to reach out to?

Who, if anyone, do you want to speak with?

>>Rath

>>Julia

>>Amara

>>You're fine with keeping your eyes on the path ahead until you find some trace of the group you're seeking after.

>>Sam?

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Gentlemen, I shall be pausing here for the evening due to a long work day and a scattered mind, as if I press myself I do believe things will get incoherent rather quickly. Voting shall remain open for the next twelve hours, and posting will resume in fourteen. Tomorrow evening looks to be prime for rapid posting if everyone is able, so let me know as I shall be checking in here regularly to address questions and the like. Thank you all for your participation and enthusiasm, and have a great night.)
>>
>>3492629
>i do have to say i dont think its an actual merge though. but who knows. id imagine its a side effect of mothers shitty trouble shooting, and the fact everyone is made of the same stuff now, including everyone's brain. throw in all the innate neuromancer stuff even with those not neuromancers(Mothers ability to talk to anyone, everyone having the dreamscape, etc) and id imagine its that if you hang around someone long enough, especially if you trust them(though Magpie implied even if you dont) i can see things starting to get confused on whos is supposed to be in what as it was.
I think that Daughters may not actually be biological creatures except in a technical sense. They're infomorphs, beings of pure data, who just happen to be running on a processor substrate of flesh. We know that a Daughter's brain isn't needed to store information. Process it, maybe, but not store. B'Ni can choose which part of her body she regenerates from, that one Daughter we looted the Shawl from could explode her head to use as vector for Neuromancy, and even if we don't specifically eat a Daughter's brain she can still wind up in our dreamscape. At a guess, I'd say there's some sort of bionanotech information storage mechanism in the cells of Crucible biomass, and we're fractally distributed throughout our entire bodies. It would be a natural outgrowth of the shapeshifting, the cells would have to actively store a blueprint of the form to take instead of just being driven by protein interactions to self-assemble certain ways. And it would explain how we can assimilate flesh so quickly, we're not actually digesting anything but just transmitting new code to take over the cells we've eaten.

Except that a Daughter's information can also be transferred pretty much immediately, over long distances, with no latency. That's how Magpie's teleporting works, she deconstructs her body and rebuilds it in another place. Which means that there isn't any deep connection between body and mind for Daughters, they're free-floating beings that are just coded to manifest just the one body at a time. We might not even actually be inside these bodies, but remote piloting them from a distributed network among the landscape's cells or even from inside the Cord itself. Elder Uzu did say Mother keeps a record of everything she eats, after all. Regardless, since there's only the illusion of mind-body integration, it makes sense that infomorphs whose avatars are in close proximity for extended time would get entangled like that. It's like you said, shitty trouble shooting. The system is bugging out on interpreting identifier codes, sending sensory streams from a given avatar to the wrong user.
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>>3492694
Okay then, that's basically Digital Devil Saga's player mechanics in a nutshell right there. Except we're working with Meat-computers.
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>>3492688
>Julia
Gotta be the wingman to the Julia x Dorian ship. See where she falls on the romance spectrum.
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>>3492691
Good night, BHOP. Sleep well, man.

>>3492696
It's pretty similar, yeah, only from a posthumanist biopunk angle rather than a spiritualist cyberpunk angle.
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>>3492688
>>Julia
i feel like she has been given the least attention, out of the three here. we dont know alot about Amara, but we still have gotten to know her and talk to her alot, in other ways.

>>3492691
hey man, i understand. you take some time to yourself if ya need. thanks for running like always my man. as for rapid posting, i should be up for it myself.

on questions, you said that liquid daughters can prevent/escape from relics and similar that would permanently bind to them. but for things like say, Sui Tormentis max level special, where it gives the person it binds to a new Ability tree, would he simply be unable to be the one to accept that, or would he essentially be tricking the armor into giving it to him, meaning if someone else then wears it and has it bind to them, they dont get that benefit?
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>>3492706
You're also forgetting about the Cursus Alas Booster Set. The final stages binds the swarmling beetles to the user in a Mutualist symbiotic relationship.
>>3492691
Same question extends to the Cursus Alas.
>>
>>3492694
i get what you're saying, but im really unsure on some parts. for one, only daughters with specific abilities can survive losing a head, and its a pretty big thing where if info and systems are in place, its quite possible to hack in and use them, or even have them be accidentally used. yet without outside info as it was, being assimilated, you are still bound by that rule and nothing seems to be able to change that, which would imply getting that ability outright rewrites your 'hardware' as it was, if were going off computer analogies.

im also very iffy on us not actually being in the bodies we are. again, it feels like if that was the case, we would see more proof of it. we certainly are not hard bound to said body mind you, only that i disagree we are not directly inside/controlling it.

>>3492715
well, Cursus Alas does not have anything like Sui Tormentis does at Level 5 though is the thing.
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>>3492688
>>Julia
Yeah, we've had the least interaction with her. Let's catch up. Julia's cool, we shouldn't neglect her. How's she doing?
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>>3492725
>The Final Forme of Cursus Alas. It integrates itself with its host, becoming neigh inseparable save for the death of its host, and lowering the Bio cost to use and operate the relic.
>neigh inseparable
>except for the host's death
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>>3492733
Sui Tormentis
Level 5
>even Further, upon receiving this upgrade, the pure, deep connection to the armor gives the wearer instant access to either a new Calcite or Fibromancer Ability Tree, now separate from the armor and fully one with the Wearer.

this is something entirely different and unique to anything Cursus Alas has, as i have not said twice.
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>>3492743
well call me a goof.
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>>3492725
>i get what you're saying, but im really unsure on some parts. for one, only daughters with specific abilities can survive losing a head, and its a pretty big thing where if info and systems are in place, its quite possible to hack in and use them, or even have them be accidentally used. yet without outside info as it was, being assimilated, you are still bound by that rule and nothing seems to be able to change that, which would imply getting that ability outright rewrites your 'hardware' as it was, if were going off computer analogies.
It takes specialized abilities to maintain consciousness without a brain. It does not appear to take specialized abilities to store memories and identity. Like I said, I think that while it takes a brain to process the information, there's redundant storage for that information. Like the difference between your computer's CPU and its hard drive. Daughters who can remain active without their heads would then have gained the ability to grow processor structures elsewhere in their bodies.

>im also very iffy on us not actually being in the bodies we are. again, it feels like if that was the case, we would see more proof of it. we certainly are not hard bound to said body mind you, only that i disagree we are not directly inside/controlling it.
I admit that one's just a hypothesis for now, I haven't settled on it. It just seems odd to me that if the Crucible parasite is such an obsessive cataloger that it stores a copy of entire worlds its eaten, it wouldn't have some way to preserve the information in the Daughters from being lost on destruction. Not every death can be relied on to be one Daughter eating another and archiving the information for Mother that way. Remote piloting is probably a far-fetched solution to that problem, but I wouldn't be surprised if there's some method of retrieving the information. Maybe the fleshscape around a corpse can copy it over, or Daughters burst-broadcast it via telepathy upon death, or some other way for Mother to get that information no matter what happens.
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>>3492772
>Part 1
i may of not explained myself as well as i meant. i wasn't saying the whole body is the true storage thing was wrong, merely that its not inate, or as advanced, in every daughter as you made it out to be, requiring 'upgrades' as it was to be fully as you described. that or im the goof now and were basically agreeing and you were just further explaining things or something.

>Part 2
well, keep in mind, all we know is the cord keeps a copy of us. we dont know from when, if its even an up to date copy, only that some version of us is in there. we also know info is often lost. abilities not gained are lost, and without a daughters ability being consumed, they do not enter into the daughter consuming them, aswell as all brain buddies of the dead daughter are now also lost. i get these are more aspects in place for the sake of the game(IC game too i mean), but im more of trying to show how the crucible isnt a perfect system nor cataloging system. plus, i mean, look at mother and her human troubleshooting problems. while Sam is kinda in our head somewhere, she was technically lost, and possibly even chunks of her are fully lost, and it accidentally spat out an entirely new consciousness basically.

im not sure how to word what im trying to say with some of that, besides maybe you're putting too much faith in the crucible and its systems, aswell as how prepared and flawlessly they may operate?

>>3492745
goof?
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>>3492815
What I mean was "call me an idiot for not reading thoroughly".
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>>3492691
Thanks for running, BHOP! See you tomorrow, have a good sleep!

>>3492688
>Julia
I agree with what everybody else is saying. She's a sweetheart, and we haven't talked to her as much as our other teammates. Let's check in and see how she's doing.
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>>3492820
well yeah, but thats a bit too harsh. i save that sorta talk for the actual trolls and my fellow asshats. of which you appear to not be either.
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>>3492815
>that or im the goof now and were basically agreeing and you were just further explaining things or something.
Nah, nothing goofy about it, we're cool. But yeah, I agree that the data transfer protocols aren't of equal development among all Daughters. They're definitely there, though, so much more makes sense if Daughters have some information storage outside their brains than if it's all up there. Like, for example, Magpie's teleport bullets. The little totem the user has to hold could be a transmitter, sure, but the fact that it can copy over the information contained within the user's mind and body so quickly and easily means that there was probably already a "file" zipped and ready for transfer.

>im not sure how to word what im trying to say with some of that, besides maybe you're putting too much faith in the crucible and its systems, aswell as how prepared and flawlessly they may operate?
It's less that I'm convinced they work flawlessly, like I said I'm pretty sure the mental bleed-over effect is because they're not working right. But I do expect there's some method for Mother to remotely access a Daughter's information. We know that Mother can contact Daughters telepathically, it wouldn't be that far out to believe that she can use that connection to archive information.
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>>3492842
personally, from what ive seen, i think we are all ourselves inside a semi-disposable vessel, and the fleshscape is like a....basically like a magrail, but not bound to one direction or anything. sorry its the best example i can think of.

basically we are a separate info block, but the fleshscape itself is one big battery and infoweb combo, which allows us to transfer our info into it and pop it back out someplace else, if we have the right software/hardware to do so. but unlike if we were remote controlling the body, we still have all of said self data inside ourselves locally, hence why messing up said transfer process can and seems to often have dire consequences to our data, and why said vessel getting destroyed or injured too badly messes with said date so hard and can even permanently destroy it, unless specific action is taken to back said date up into another persons files.
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>>3492853
Yeah, exactly. See, it was just us sort of talking past each other because we couldn't get the language coordinated. That's basically my assumption too. Like I said, the remote piloting thing is just me covering my bases, I'm not certain on the idea. It's really just so that if it does turn out to be right I can shout "ah-HAH!". But no, it's probably all stored internally to a given avatar. It would be the more efficient way to do it.

I think it's like a hologram, really. I said "fractally stored" and that was the wrong term for it, "holographic storage" is better. No single piece of a hologram's medium corresponds to a specific part of an image. If I take a holographic plate of a person, and I cut it in half, I don't get two holograms of the person's right and left halves. I get two identical holograms of the person, but they're both fuzzier. I lost resolution, not imagery. Daughter information storage is probably similar, if it's throughout their body. You deal enough damage and their mind will decohere into meaningless static, but enough damage to kill them won't necessarily make it unreadable.
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>>3492878
thats makes sense, though i didnt know holograms worked like that. neat. it does seem we were just arguing from different sides of the same coin yeah.
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>>3492706
>>3492715
(Regarding the binding properties, the original 'bound' user would get to keep the benefits of the final stage, but they could slip out of the armor and give it to someone else.)

>>3492701
>>3492706
>>3492822
(Also, thank you all for your wishes of a good night's sleep. You're all absolutely fantastic and truly the best players I could ask for. I hope you all have a restful evening, as well.)
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>>3493001
ah, makes sense, thanks.

and speaking of the Sui Tormentis, i still think giving it to Rath at its Level 5 would make sense, if only because she is the only one i think would be ok with that, aswell as a Calcite or Fibromancer ability probably being best on her or Julia(but Julia already has a Calcite hybrid so 50/50 unnecessary on her).

mind you, im talking much later of course. i dont expect us to be able to afford getting it or anything to max level for awhile anyways. by the time its even a thing though, we could probably afford a new suit if we haven't already made one anyways, so it might all be a moot point to make.
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>>3493001
oh, speaking of crafting, what class is Frozen Fury? Fibromancer?
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>>3493016
(You are correct. Despite my poor choice of wording in the flavor text, it is not in fact a Phantasmal Conduit power.)
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>>3493030
well, certainly didn't think it was that at least heh. now the real important question, is it its own attack separate from other abilities, or can it stack ontop of other abilities, maybe with the stipulation it must still be an unarmed attack to stack?
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>>3493041
(It must still be an unarmed attack, but it doesn't have to be separate from any other attack Julia's performing. If you declare that you wish to trigger the retaliatory strike, then it will be applied to one of Julia's unarmed attacks.)
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>>3493049
kickass.

also it appears we now have access to every class but Unnatural Predator, albeit hardly duplicates enough to properly spread out the costs. for example, Julia holds both our Calcite and Fibromancer classes, so upgrading Sui Tormentis is actually off the table, unless you think she can handle only having 90% Bio for a bit.

how did we end up with more abilities of some of the rarer classes then the most common ones?
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>>3492688
>>Sam

How many opportunities are we going to get to address this? How many opportunities can we actually afford to choose to do this?

I don't know what's In the box, but we need to know one way or the other. It could be that Sam Isn't real, just a ghost of personality conjured from our horrified recollection of what she did. Maybe she's been here In whole the entire time. Either way, It's time to find out.
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>>3493056
(Luck of the dice coupled with the way you've been playing, for the most part.)
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>>3493058
i honestly just dont see sam as an issue, nor our past something we need to really know more about. sure, we dont know everything about her or our past, but in a way, so what? its not even our past, its hers, and we dont need to know everything about her to know what she did was wrong. even if, maybe, she wasn't so big and mighty, or always as bad as she was, in the end, she was the worst type of person, and got what was coming to her.

theres nothing left we need to find out. shes someone else, and something we have no reason to fear or cling onto. if ever someone in our head deserved to fade away, she would be the one. and despite isabelle still being a problem, shes nothing Sam or more information about her can truly help us solve. if anything, clinging to her and wasting time on giving her attention might be exactly what she wants, as its all she has left to 'get back' at us with considering her situation.
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>>3492688
>Rath
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>>3492688
>Sam?
I said my piece on this before. I also think this chat is inevitable and would rather have it on our terms.
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>>3492688
>Sam?
Time to chat with Evil Serph
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>>3493014
The only problem that I'm seeing with that is that Rath doesn't have any innate Health or bio regen.
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>>3493684
Well, like i said its a moot point. We would have to sideline Julia at 90% bio to even get it to level 2, much less level 5. By the time we can afford level 5, everyone will have gotten so many levels for all we know rath will have the Highest regen stats out of the group. Its really too far out to know if that would be an issue.
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>>3492688

“Hey Amara, could you give me and Julia a little time to catch up? Maybe you could give Rath a few fighting pointers, show her how to throw hands like you?”

“Okay! I’ll tell her not to waste her magic, too!” She declares, sliding off Julia’s shoulders and bounding over to her hero. Julia giggles softly before turning her wide, dark eyes to meet yours.

“H-how are you feeling?” She blurts out just as you open your mouth to ask the same of her.

“I’m fine, but I really want to see how you’ve been feeling. It’s been a while since we’ve talked, and you mean a lot to me, so…” You trail off, seeing a tinge of red work its way into her cheeks as she starts to fidget. “…how’re you holding up?”

“Um….w-well, I mean, t-things at the Monastery have b-been a little stressful, b-but just being with you and everyone…it makes me really happy.” She replies slowly, taking care with her words. “You, G-Gina, Rath, D-Dorian, and especially Amara…it feels like a f-family.”

She looks away bashfully, her fidgeting increasing in intensity.

“Is t-that weird? That c-came out weird, I’m s-sorr…” She stammers fretfully before trailing off in the face of your reassuring smile.

“I feel the same way, Julia. It really does feel like a family.” You say, taking her hand as the two of you pick your way across a particularly jagged stretch of beach. “You know, I’m really glad you gave us a chance when we first met you. Everyone was really on edge, and you kept your cool, as you have with everything that’s been thrown at you so far. Actually, I know you’re not a fan of fighting but I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you helping us out here. It’s a fact that if you hadn’t been with us when we fought the Conglomerate, well…”

You trail off and Julia nods solemnly, your implication hanging in the air before she speaks again.

“I’m getting used t-to it. The f-fighting, I mean.” Julia begins. “It’s easier w-with Amalgams, but I still d-don’t like fighting g-girls like us.”

“You know what? Me neither.” You reply honestly, deciding to switch gears a bit. “On to something happier, I wanted to ask how things were going with you and Dorian.”

“O-oh, um, it’s f-fine.” She says as scarlet invades her neck and cheeks, the skin on her face drawn taught. “H-he’s really nice, t-to me, and t-to everyone, s-so…yeah. All the g-girls at the Monastery r-really like him, and it’s easy t-to see why, since he’s…um. Yep.”

“I can tell he’s making a point to be especially nice to you, regardless of the attention he gets from others.” You reply, fighting back a grin at how adorably flustered she’s getting until the nervous energy she’s emanating swiftly turns to guilt and fear.

(Continued)
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>>3493728

“I j-just d-don’t…I’ve n-never really…felt like t-that, though?” Julia falters, struggling to put her scattered thoughts into words. “I m-mean, I r-read books, and I watched m-movies with love and romance and…it never r-really clicked? And so when h-he looks at me like he d-does and acts s-so nice, it k-kind of…I feel bad, and then I feel g-guilty about feeling b-bad because I d-don’t know if I c-can feel that way towards s-someone, or give them what they want and it’s just…”

The words come tumbling out of her in a torrent, her careful phrasing lost in the flurry of information she finally lends voice to.

“There was someone b-back in school, before I went t-to college…he s-said he loved me. We’d been b-best friends all through h-high school, and w-when he said he wanted to b-be something more, I didn’t know what else t-to d-do. I thought that t-this was h-how it worked, but then when h-he said he w-wanted more, I couldn’t…it didn’t really…work, like in an…i-intim…a p-personal way. He g-got really upset, and I started to…I tried to t-tell him t-that I loved him, b-but that I’d never felt that way, and I d-didn’t know if I could even…I didn’t see him a-after he w-walked out. He w-wouldn’t return my calls, he w-wouldn’t t-talk to…I lost my b-best friend right before I started my f-freshman year. H-he was s-so hurt, I…”

You put your arm around her shoulders as she wipes the tears from her cheeks with delicate fingers.

“It’s okay. I get it, you don’t have to continue if you don’t want to.” You say, and she leans into you as your northward march comes to a stop.

“…I really want everyone t-to be happy and s-safe, but when I think about telling Dorian about how I feel, I get really scared, so…” She says, watching Rath and Amara continue on ahead of you, giving you a respectful amount of distance. “I j-just want to make my art and m-my tea and have everyone I love a-around me, and I d-don’t want to let you or anyone else d-down, so…”

A look of horror crosses her face as she begins to voice an apology. "I'm s-so sorry, I d-didn't mean to dump all this on you so suddenly, I just..."

She glances up at you with one dark eye, the other hidden behind her golden hair.

"...I t-trust you, Shu. A lot."

>>”You’re amazing, Julia, so please don’t feel like you have to worry about letting anyone down. Relationships are…weird, to say the least. Everyone’s different, so maybe you just need some time to figure out how you feel.”

>>”I think Dorian’s like you, in that he wants to make sure everyone’s taken care of. The last thing he would want to do is make you feel pressure, and if you’re up for telling him what you just told me, then…I know he’ll listen, and he won’t be mad at you.”

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3493732
>>”I think Dorian’s like you, in that he wants to make sure everyone’s taken care of. The last thing he would want to do is make you feel pressure, and if you’re up for telling him what you just told me, then…I know he’ll listen, and he won’t be mad at you.”
>>
(Voting shall remain open for the next hour and a half, Gentlemen.)
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>>3493732
Oh my. I think we have a case of Twice Shy for both Dorian and Julia.
It's so adorable it hurts.

We'll need to examine this burgeoning romance between the Painter and the Sculptor.
So Dorian: He's instantly smitten at first sight. Not much to go about that. "She is everything and more. He knows that Julia wants to take care of everything else before taking care of herself, and says that isn't a healthy way to live in the long run." But he's got a gentleman's code about him and he doesn't want to pressure Julia into making rash decisions.

And then there's Julia. She's got a case of "Once Burned, Twice Shy" in her previous life. Her previous friend died before Julia's Freshman year, which pretty much made her very shy. It's also clear that she's got feelings for Dorian as well, but her past experiences are holding her back.

>"I think Dorian's like you Julia. The last thing he would want to do is to make you feel pressured. He's a Gentleman. What eats him alive on the inside is worrying what eats you alive on the inside. If you're up for telling him what you just told me, then... I know he'll listen and he won't be mad."
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>>3493732
This >>3493738
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>>3493732
>”You’re amazing, Julia, so please don’t feel like you have to worry about letting anyone down. Relationships are…weird, to say the least. Everyone’s different, so maybe you just need some time to figure out how you feel.”
She can take her time. There's no shame in that. But I'm fine with the other option as well.
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>>3493773
Er, dude didn't die, he just didn't handle her not feeling romantic love back towards him by cutting her off and not talking to her anymore. The 'issue' here is, Julia is sating she can feel love, but not romantic love, and isn't sure if she can feel it for dorian either. She loves him, but like one loves family or friends, not a life partner.
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>>3493118
It's not about fear. It's not about 'our' past. It was an option, and a very peculiar option. It's her past, and technically our body was made from, and resembles, hers. I'd like to find out If she really Is a stowaway or not, and wrap up the Sam Issue entirely.

Hopefully next time we get a good chance we'll take It.
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>>3493773
>>3493732
Amending my vote. to
>”You’re amazing, Julia, so please don’t feel like you have to worry about letting anyone down. Relationships are…weird, to say the least. Everyone’s different, so maybe you just need some time to figure out how you feel.”
>"Dorian is a gentleman first and foremost. The last thing he would want to do is to make you feel pressured into a relationship like that. Tell him how you feel when you're ready."
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>>3493732

”You’re amazing, Julia, so please don’t feel like you have to worry about letting anyone down." You respond with a smile, drawing her into a tight hug. "Relationships are…weird, to say the least. Everyone’s different, so maybe you just need some time to figure out how you feel.”

She squeezes you back, her slender arms wrapped around you back as she mumbles a 't-thank you' into your chest.

“Guys, you’re gonna want to see this.” Rath suddenly shouts, directing your attention westward, where smoke's started billowing from just over the ridge ahead of you. Given how low it hangs and the fact that it wasn’t there when you and Julia started speaking, whatever caused it only just started.

“Fighting.” Rath barks, cocking her head to one side, listening intently. Her brow knits as she turns to you.

“Killing.” She finishes, and you shift your attention to your resident Skintalker.

“Amara, what can you tell about what’s over there?”

“Um…there’s someone really strong fighting a bunch of people…they’re getting whooped pretty bad.”

“Who is?”

“Oh, everyone else! Also, there’s…” She starts before somethingdraws her fleeting focus behind her, to a point on the river's horizon.

“Hey, a ship! A pretty ship!” Amara shouts, mid-wave to a distant vessel on the horizon before Julia darts over the rocky ground and snatches her up so as to not draw greater attention to yourselves. You squint at the shimmering object drifting towards you from across the River of Tears. Resembling a crystalline yacht, its shimmering gold and bright scarlet hull easily repels the waterway's caustic waves that lap against its bulk, lazily drawing closer to your location on the shoreline.

"If there's a fight, I want in." Rath growls from your left. "Knowing people are getting their ass handed to them by some OP asshat pisses me off."

"Amara, are they still fighting?" You ask, and she replies with a shake of her head.

"Nope! The hero's finishing off the villains now, one by one."

"W-why do you say they're a hero?" Julia asks quizzically.

"Because they won!" She exclaims with a grin. "The heroes always do!"

>>Investigate the aftermath of whatever happened over the ridge. You’d like to avoid drawing the ship’s attention for now, and if there’s been some sort of struggle then there may be someone in need, like Rath said. Even if you’re too late, knowing what’s fast and strong enough to swiftly end a conflict of that scale would be prudent.

>>You’d assume the ship to have been crafted by a Humoral Paladin given its construction, and with it’s sheer size you’d imagine whoever made it has some considerable reserves of Biomass and enough wits about them to make and pilot a vessel.

>>As strong as you team is now, you’re in no mood to chance either encounter. You’ll pick up the pace to the north and avoid them both.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Voting shall remain open for the next two hours, Gentlemen. My apologies, I had this update ready to go when voting concluded and then work hit hard. Thank you so much for your patience, and I hope you're having a good day.)
>>
>>3494021
>>Investigate the aftermath of whatever happened over the ridge. You’d like to avoid drawing the ship’s attention for now, and if there’s been some sort of struggle then there may be someone in need, like Rath said. Even if you’re too late, knowing what’s fast and strong enough to swiftly end a conflict of that scale would be prudent.
Add in
>"Amara, that's not always true. Sometimes, the villain wins, which is why we ourselves have to always be careful and try our hardest, so that we can make sure that doesn't happen as often as possible."

I mean, unlikely sadly, but maybe we can save one person. If Amaras not right that is, and they are victims. Either way, friendly or enemy, i cant see waiting for the mystery boat to be as big an issue as potentially saving lives.
>>
>>3494021
Supporting >>3494043

The ship can wait.
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>>3494021
>You’d assume the ship to have been crafted by a Humoral Paladin given its construction, and with it’s sheer size you’d imagine whoever made it has some considerable reserves of Biomass and enough wits about them to make and pilot a vessel.
>>
>>3494021
Supporting this >>3494043, with the addition of asking Amara to ask the ground over by where the ship docked if it remembers how the fight got started. Quiet, now, just a whisper. If they're a villain we don't want to alert them, and if they're a hero we don't want to look rude.
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>>3494043
We can probably use examples, like when a villain kills good guys to show how dangerous and evil they are and motivate the hero to beat them.
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>>3494021

You and your team creep up the ridge, the jagged, hardened flesh proving to be stable yet painful handholds as you lean close to Amara, currently riding piggy-back on Rath.

"Amara, that's not always true.” You explain, peeking over the edge of the rocky mound, your eyes scanning the ramshackle settlement a few hundred yards off. “Sometimes, the villain wins, which is why we ourselves have to always be careful and try our hardest, so that we can make sure that doesn't happen as often as…as…”

Amara’s waiting for you to continue your thought as you watch a girl no older than her fleeing the bloodbath behind her. The makeshift town is littered with the bodies of countless Daughters, clean cuts having scatted bodies across the humble expanse of the settlement. Even at this distance you can see the sheer terror on her face, her frantic attempts to flee cut off by the figure that smoothly rises from the ground before her, leaving no trace of its emergence from the fleshscape. A long, elegant blade is held limp at the phantom’s side as it towers over the child dwarfed by its skeletal frame, a shimmering cloak of skin hanging off sharp, angular shoulders that weeps a steady stream of scarlet tears on the ground it hovers just above.

The girl is about to scream when the blade slides home in the girl’s neck, her head sent flying with an errant flick of the warrior’s wrist. There’s an anguished cry from the town, a pair of older girls conjuring a large, crystalline needle between them as they howl epithets at the phantom. It merely raises its empty hand, a flick of its slender fingers sending a cloud of jet-black flechettes that reduce girls and needle both to a spray of biomass that paints the shack behind where they stood. The mottled flesh of the ground behind the being explodes, a muscle-wrapped girl erupting forth with a tank-wrecking fist hurtling towards the creature’s head. She doesn’t even come close, the cloak springing to life and slicing out, carving off the offending limb with a flourish, its wearer stock still as they watch the Fibromancer tumble to the terrain before them. A flick of a blade, and their legs are gone. Another, and the girl’s reduced to a writhing torso on the ground, roaring with a defiant fury as the figure regards their victim with the hollow-eyed, inscrutable expression you know all too well.

“We could’ve saved them!” The girl bellows, her voice amplified through pain and adrenaline as you watch her muscle fibers struggling to form replacement arms, hindered no doubt by the accursed blade the warrior used to rob them of their limbs. “We could’ve beaten this whole goddamn thing and brought Mother to her kn…!”

(Continued)
>>
Could be the Maroon (sp?) girl who went hunting that group.
>>
>>3494369

The final blow is delivered by a cold, perfected hand, and then all is silent. The being scans their work and, satisfied, plunges their blade into the ground, the jagged fleshscape opening up a yawning mouth beneath each corpse littered about the massacre, devouring all evidence of the slaughter save for the blood-streaked shelters that remain.

It’s a moment before you become aware of the heat building at your hip, the Contender humming fitfully as it witnesses its creator tilt their head to the sky in a moment of silence.

You can feel your heart hammering in your chest.

It’s only natural.

This is the first time you’ve borne witness to Charon’s primary task, after all.

“...Fuck.” Rath mutters, and Julia simply nods in agreement. Amara leans in close to whisper in your ear, your eyes collectively transfixed on the sight only a short distance away.

“Is that a villain?” She asks.

You tear your eyes away from Charon to look at the girl to your right, and you find yourself at a loss for words.

“I don’t…Amara, is that ship coming or going?” You deflect. She whispers to the ground, tilting her ear to its surface for a moment before giving her reply.

“It’s coming towards us! The ground asked the water, and the water was happy to tell me.” She whispers back proudly. You nod, the Contender burning hot in its holster as you share a glance with Julia and Rath. Your gentle artist is at the ready to get Amara as far away from this gristly scene as quickly as possible, while Rath bristles with rage held back by the thinnest of threads.

“Rath?” You start slowly. “Rath, we…”

“I fucking know, alright?!” She hisses back, her glare flitting to you for a moment before locking back on the Hexane Disciple. “I’m not an idiot, I know that bitch has got a gun to Charon’s head, but…shit, this whole thing is just fucked.”

You can’t help but agree.

>>”…We continue North. There’s nothing to be done here.”

>>Leave, and wait for the ship by the shoreline as you try to push what you just witnessed to the periphery of your mind.

>>Approach Charon. You weren’t her target here; it was one assigned by Mother, and you hope you don’t currently rank high enough to warrant a similar treatment…not yet, anyway.

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
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>>3494369
Oh snap.. that solo is a baddie?
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>>3494374
Continue North. Shame we didn’t get to eat the bodies..
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>>3494374
>>Leave, and wait for the ship by the shoreline as you try to push what you just witnessed to the periphery of your mind

I...well fuck. As much as i dont like letting that stand, Charon or not, we ain't prepared to beat what we just saw. Nor do i thonk we should risk being on the hit list.

Maybe.. dunno, maybe the boat will be good news, if nothing else we can warn em to take a second before going through the town, just incase Charons in some sorta 'kill mode' which doesn't discriminate.
>>
>>3494381
It's our old pal Charon. Mother tasks her with destroying anything that threatens the integrity of the Crucible. She doesn't like it, but she's not really allowed much free will. Mother is cruel. I kind of want to stay and investigate, see if we can figure out how this group was a threat to the Crucible. But I fear that digging too deep into that would trigger Charon's protocols and consider us finally enough of a threat that we need to be destroyed.

Still, nice to have some insight into Charon's abilities. We're going to have to fight her eventually. Looks like she still fights as if she had the Contender, almost, sword and bullets. And that cloak is pretty nasty, too. Doesn't seem to favor the terraforming abilities they have, even if they're apparently quite strong.
>>
(Voting shall remain open for the next two hours, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3494408
Oh, and add in this on our way back to the river;
>"Amara...yes and no. See, Charon is a good person deep down, but she's not like you or me or us. Shes from a different world, the one that went through this before ours. The thing is, shes only here because mother forced her to be as a punishment, and so she has to obey and do these terrible things if mother commands her to, because she isnt in control of herself like us or the other daughters. Amara...she is a villain, but sometimes a villain doesn't want to be one. Always remember things are not always black and white, even if that doesn't change the fact one day we will have to face her, and stop her from hurting anyone else..."

Others can feel free to word this better if they have ideas though.
>>
>>3494374
>>Leave, and wait for the ship by the shoreline as you try to push what you just witnessed to the periphery of your mind.
There's nothing worth looting with how Charon disposed of the bodies, and I don't want to risk getting close to Charon anyway. But we can warn that approaching ship of the dangers, and maybe make some friends.

>>3494442
Yeah, I like it. Let me try.
>"I'm sorry, Amara, but this one isn't that simple. Charon used to be a hero, and still wants to be, but she doesn't have a choice. Mother is forcing her to do bad things, hurt anyone who could stop Mother. Like us. We met Charon before, when we were weaker, and since we weren't a threat she could be nice to us. She helped us a lot. But now, with how much stronger we're getting, I think Mother would make her fight us. So it's best to just avoid Charon if we can, we're strong but not strong enough yet. Maybe someday we can save her and let her be a hero again, but for now we have to treat her like a villain."
>>
>>3494374
>>Approach Charon. You weren’t her target here; it was one assigned by Mother, and you hope you don’t currently rank high enough to warrant a similar treatment…not yet, anyway.

If we were tough enough for Charon to have to fight us, we would know it. Charon doesn't want to kill innocents and could probably use some friends right now.
>>
>>3494625
i disagree that the risk is worth it. for all we know her orders are 'any daughter in this area must die', and if we enter it...well...

there could also be a hit list, in order of importance, and we are unlucky enough to be on it, but lucky enough to be much further down.

>>3494435
also, i just remembered, didn't you say after our colossus level ups, that after dorians choice the contender was gonna level up too?
>>
>>3494374
>>3494688
Amending my vote to:
>Send a swarmling to Charon with a message. Is it safe for us to come and talk?
>>
>>3494688
I think you're right. While you mention it, Dorian's Choice feature mentioned that it was one of two.
>>
>>3494688
(Indeed I did, and the Contender's upgrade will be within the next update or so, considering it's warm at Shu's side. The delay was for a reason, though.)
>>
>>3494717
ah, thats my bad then for jumping to conclusions that it was forgotten, sorry.

>>3494713
hrm, you are right. though it may just be a mis-wording and both parts are in there.
>>
>>3494713
>>3494725
(Oh, you're both quite right about Dorian. The second boon granted by his Red Death skill tree is a fourth form that he's experimenting with now, actually. I didn't wish to reveal it quite yet since I hadn't expected the merger you ended up with, so I had to tweak it a bit to not be quite as game-breaking as it was about to be, hence the delay.)
>>
>>3494739
Something game-breaking if it wasn't tweaked. West was right. Those core hybrids are the way to go.
>>
>>3494739
well, something to look forward to once we see him again then.
>>
>>3494739
Ooh, neat. I was thinking it was just something personal that he didn't feel like sharing with us, but it's a whole new form? Excellent.

>>3494743
Yeah. Say what you will about her ethics, but she knows her stuff.
>>
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>>3494374

"Please stop."

The svelte voice enters your mind unbidden, your hive freezing in the act of creating a swarmling to carry a message to the part-time waystation attendant, full-time enforcer that's sheathing their blade after the slaughter. You withdraw the Contender from its holster, Karma's request still echoing in your mind.

"My Master would not be able to stop from striking you down if you approach at this moment." She explains, and you reach out to haul Rath down from the hill's edge. "I do not wish to see my current Master ended by my former."

"That makes two of us." You breathe, gesturing for your allies to follow you back down the ridge and to the imposing shore. "Are we far enough away to where they won't come after us?"

"You are, yes. Currently, my prior Master has been ordered to deconstruct any Daughter they see within that camp. If you'd decided to peek over that ridge and make yourself known, then you may very well have found yourself treading into that category."

"Super." You sigh before asking a question that's been buzzing around your mind. "How will I know when we pose a big enough threat to Mother for Charon to come knocking?"

"I do believe my connection with them will allow me to keep you abreast of your progress towards Mother's adverse action." Karma reports succinctly, her handle glowing with heat.

"Master Shu?" She begins hesitantly. "Please know that my prior Master want nothing less than for me to stay by your side, and when the time comes for them to come for you, then..."

She pauses a moment, a hard, focused edge to her usual airy tone.

"...I know that Charon would want me to keep you safe."

>>CONTENDER LEVEL UP - (SHU: Lvl 3)

(Continued)
>>
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>>3494831

>>YOU ARE NOW AWARE OF YOUR THREAT LEVEL (Upon reaching 100%, the Right Hand of Mother will begin seeking after you to deliver judgement. Leveling up, , gaining new allies, disrupting with Forges/Sparagmos Engines, and keeping Daughters from falling to the Hunger all work towards increasing your Threat Level. The death of your friends, allies falling to the Hunger, and anything you do to encourage the chaotic world-state Mother desires will serve to decrease your threat level accordingly.)

>>CURRENT THREAT: 46%

CHOOSE *ONE* NEW EFFECT FROM THE LIST BELOW

>>SHORT FUSE: Shot effects now take 1 less turn to detonate.

>>ALANNA’S EDGE: You may choose to spend 1 ACT when wielding the Contender’s Lionheart Form to make up to three consecutive attacks with an increased chance of dealing a critical hit, though this ability lacks the quirk of shortening the timers of any active rounds.

>>HELPING HILT: Striking a foe that has an active STACK or non-CONTENDER effect on a timer applies an extra STACK or removes one tick of said effect’s timer.

AND

CHOOSE *ONE* NEW ROUND FROM THE LIST BELOW

>>CICADA'S CRY: A squat, fat round, this grenade-like projectile lacks the damage-dealing capabilities of its kin in favor of emitting an ear-piercing wail over a vast distance. This cry acts to disrupt any and all concentration-based effects in a medium range around the target area aside from those employed by its user, severely limiting the vast arsenals of Neuromancers, Humoral Paladins, and Phantasmal Conduits alike. They don't call out often in this desolate land, but when the cicadas cry...the world listens.(Cost: 10% BIO)

>>SCARLET PRIMER: The Scarlet Drone's innate ability to let Gina link to foes from afar has been distilled into an armor-piercing round, circumventing the natural drawbacks of the Drone by allowing the round to bury itself directly into the host, making it effectively impossible to remove through most conventional means. However, abilities that allow the negation of status effects will still be able to shrug off the round's remote link as before. (Cost: 30% BIO to load.)

>>HONEY TRAP: When fired, this naturally aromatic and pheromone-laden grub burrows into the flesh of its target, forcing the target's own body to emit an irresistible and infuriating scent that results in any and all constructs within long range to focus their aggressive attentions on the unfortunate target for the next two rounds or until the round is removed. Bear in mind this effect is indiscriminate, and any construct that enters the round's are-of-effect will be automatically and violently entranced. Love...such a fickle thing. (Cost: 20% BIO)

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Voting shall remain open for the next hour and a half, with rapid-posting to begin when the next update goes live. One hour voting blocks will then continue until the close of the evening, if everyone is still alright with that.)
>>
>>3494849
Sounds great, BHOP.
>>
>>3494836
oof, well that percentile is basically never going down on purpose and could raise pretty quickly. but we knew what we were getting into, we will figure out how to deal with this too.

and man, poor Karma and Charon. gosh i wish we knew a better way, but im pretty sure if Karma thought there was a way to save her old master, she would not hesitate to tell us. or maybe Charon feels too guilty and has forbade such a thing...

>>SHORT FUSE
waaay too helpful to our round types to pass up on.

>>CICADA'S CRY
because being able to disrupt those class types is immensely useful.

>>3494849
im up for it myself sure.
>>
>>3494855
My issue with the Cicada's Cry is that two of our strongest party members rely heavily on Neuromancy and Humoral Paladin (well, a hybrid) skills, and neither of them have the range for me to be comfortable that they won't get caught in the blast. It feels risky.
>>
>>3494867
ill admit its situational but i really dont see the others two as being as good.

Honey trap is even MORE situational, and mostly only matters in turning enemy constructs against their master, but thats not a very common thing to need to do.

Scarlet Primer isnt bad, but is wholly unneeded in that it give no new effect, is simply basically a replacement/upgrade for something we already have. not bad, but something we can easily do without.

Cicada however is new, and outright counters two not all too uncommon class types and one rare but powerful class type, all three with abilities that can be outright detrimental if we cannot stop them once they connect/activate. while yes we have to be careful not to disrupt our allies unless absolutely necessary, having said kill switch incase such classes/abilities hit us with another depression aura or a neuromancer stick an ally is a lifesaver beyond any measure we otherwise have so far when it comes to dealing with said classes/abilities. and can be deployed at range too is never a bad thing.
>>
>>3494836
Okay, Short Fuse is a no brainer, despite how good the other upgrades are. All of our rounds for the Contender have some degree or delayed effect, speeding that up is amazing.

As for the new ammo type, I'm not sure. Cicada's Cry gives an excellent counter to a very nasty type of enemy, but risks friendly fire on Gina and Dorian. Scarlet Primer is nice, but given that we can stealth the Scarlet Drone it's never really been a problem to get one close. And Honey Trap seems really situational, but also really powerful in that situation. I guess I'm going to go with Cicada's Cry despite my misgivings, we'll just have to be careful with it.


>>SHORT FUSE: Shot effects now take 1 less turn to detonate.

>>CICADA'S CRY: A squat, fat round, this grenade-like projectile lacks the damage-dealing capabilities of its kin in favor of emitting an ear-piercing wail over a vast distance. This cry acts to disrupt any and all concentration-based effects in a medium range around the target area aside from those employed by its user, severely limiting the vast arsenals of Neuromancers, Humoral Paladins, and Phantasmal Conduits alike. They don't call out often in this desolate land, but when the cicadas cry...the world listens.(Cost: 10% BIO)
>>
>>3494836
>SHORT FUSE
Seems to be the most directly helpful. If our team had more STACK or effect timer related abilities, I would've chosen to play with Helpful Hilt instead.

>HONEY TRAP
I want to play with this. Our party doesn't really use constructs, and even if it did they would probably be attacking whatever we shoot at anyways. It's the safer ability disruption that we can use on enemies that create numerical advantages against us. Scarlet Primer is a safer Scarlet Drone, but if it still costs one of Gina's Acts then I'm not sure if there's enough difference to justify it.
>>
>>3494900
swarmlings technically count as constructs im pretty sure, so...
>>
>>3494906
(They do, as do Dorian's paintlings.)
>>
>>3494909
How does it interact with Bishops? Is it like Knights where it further increases the buff it provides the wearer with (if they're at least attacking the Honey Trap target, in this case)?
>>
>>3494942
(Correct.)
>>
>>3494836
>>SHORT FUSE
>>CICADA'S CRY

Damn, I was going to suggest thinking about ways to avoid seeming like a threat to the Crucible, but with these threat level mechanics, I am concerned Mother (read: BHOP) might be too crafty..
>>
Waiter/tactical anon is back from work. what did I miss/
>>
>>3494979
The only thing I can think of is that we might be able to spoof Mother's judgement with the "encourage chaotic world-state" clause for lowering Threat Level if we take out some major problem in a messy way. For example, if we defeat some Daughter building an empire and in the process cause a power-struggle as all her lieutenants fight among themselves to take her place. Or maybe if we save Daughters from the Hunger not by appealing to higher principles but base motives that cause them to go and seek more violence. "If you give in, you'll just turn into a monster and then you won't have the planning ability needed to go hunt down that bitch who hurt you, keep it together for the sake of revenge."

>>3495003
We ran into our old buddy Charon, carrying out their duty of killing Daughters that are trying to stop the death game. Karma warned us not to go near, even though our Threat Level (oh, yeah, she offered to start tracking that for us) isn't enough for Charon to consider us a priority target they're not in their right mind now and would kill us anyway. And now we're selecting new upgrades for the Hexane Contender.
>>
>>3495003
not sure when you were last here but...

>on our way to the DOs
>talked to Julia about Dorian. she revealed she might have issues being able to feel romantic love and is terrified of driving him away like she did her past childhood friend if she tells him.
>suddenly we get stuck between a Humoral Paladin boat of large size crossing the river towards us, and a single dude taking out a large group ahead.
>we ignore boat, investigate battle.
>its fucking Charon absolutely slaughtering an entire town, Karma warns us to back off because his mission is to kill any daughters in that area.
>Contender is currently leveling up, and we are on our way to meet the boat as it lands to warn it about Charon, and also wish to explain to Amara the complicated nature of villians who do not wish to be villians, but still are.

hope this helps!
>>
>>3495008
i can see the empire and similar things working, but note it simply says 'save from hunger' not how or why. at best i can only see it evening out, not lowering it for such things.
>>
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>>3494836

>>SHORT FUSE & CICADA'S CRY: UNLOCKED

By the time the boat finally reaches the shore, you find that it's a smaller craft than the last river-worthy vessel you rode on. Despite its unusual construction of calcified liquid it's an otherwise unremarkable thing. You watch as a citrine plank extends from the hull, dragging part of the bow with it as a figure emerges from the deck.

A young woman around your age strides confidently down the plank on a pair of lissome legs, a stark black turtleneck tight on her angular frame. Her dark eye and darker lips make up the most natural part of her face, the other resembling your hive, myriad holes dotted with glittering yellow crystals set deep within.

"Ahoy, avast, and all that" She smirks, giving you and your team a once-over before casting her cool gaze towards the smoking remains of the settlement. "We came over to check out the smoke. Is that your doing?"

You shake your head, and before you can compose a greeting she's already introducing herself.

"Good, good. Name's Jacqueline, by the way, or Jackie to my friends. Call me Jackie." She rattles off, directing her single dark eye your way. "What's yours?"

"Shu...you said 'we' came to see the smoke." You comment, keeping an eye on the vessel behind her. "Your friends are still aboard?"

"Oh, yeah. We're headed north to the village of robo-broads. Heard some interesting things, wanted to check it out before we keep heading west. Anything interesting in the barbecue over there?"

""Can't say there is." Rath growls. You grit your teeth, but Jackie just tilts her head back and laughs.

"Ah, good to know. Actually..." She hums glancing over you and your fellows again before turning to size up her boat. "...wanna hitch a ride, we can totally..."

You and she both give pause when you feel your team tense.

"You're antsy. I respect that. Tell you what, if it'll make you feel better I can send my crew on ahead, I can walk with you for a bit, let you see the kinda girl I am, then you can see if you'd like a lift." She chatters, her eye flitting over your features as Julia leans close.

"Hull." She mutters under her breath. You glance towards their boat, noting the long, shallow gouges mar the underside of the vessel, evidence of a past struggle peeking just above the water's lapping edge. It's clear that this craft has seen some struggles, and that it's crew have lived to meet you today.

"Why the offer?" You ask, and Jackie just laughs.

"'Cause the sane are hard to come by and crazy's a dime a dozen." Jackie fires back. "It's your call, Shu. I respect whatever that may be."

>>Politely decline. You're quite alright hoofing it, just the four of you.

>>If you have questions, you can ask them right here, right now (Write-in).

>>Accept Jackie's offer of a walk.

>>Hitch a ride with Jackie and her crew up to the Disassociated Ones.

>>Invite Jackie and her team to join you on your way north...mainly to stay on dry land.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3495036
>Politely decline. You're quite alright hoofing it, just the four of you.
>>
>>3495036
>>Accept Jackie's offer of a walk.
allies are too few to ignore an opportunity to make more, but we also cant ignore caution. im up for a suggestion for a more fair middle ground though, i feel like we should do something in return to show we really dont mean anything but to sate our understandable paranoia, as it were.
>>
>>3495036
>Invite Jackie and her team to join you on your way north...mainly to stay on dry land.
>>
>>3495065
>>3495045
As much as Strength in numbers is a good thing, we're already a balanced team that trusts each other implicitly. Having us interact with another full squad of 4 as it is will just ruin our plans on having the proper time and environment to teach Amara what Anti-Villains and Anti-Heroes are. Not to mention it just opens up a huge can of worms when it comes to party to party dynamics. We only met the Leader, but we don't really know what sort of squad she's rolling with.
>>
>>3495036
Ooh, that's some nasty trypophobia, there. Been a while since I've felt any of the body horror of the quest's name, guess it had to catch up with me eventually.

Hmm. On the one hand "hey, it's okay, I'll go for a walk with you and that will get you trusting me" definitely sounds like something someone leading us into an ambush would say. On the other hand, if she had any friends in this area, Charon probably just put them in the ground. Actually, we can probably use that as an excuse to have the conversation here without being rude, we don't want to go wandering while Charon's still active.

>>If you have questions, you can ask them right here, right now (Write-in).
>"Sorry, but I'm not feeling up for a walk right now. The thing that wrecked that town is still hanging around, I'm happy staying put here until it gets bored and wanders off. I'm still up for a talk if that's alright with you, though. How'd you get your boat across the river with such little damage? I crossed on a much bigger craft and Leviathan still wrecked it."
>>
>>3495073
not the first friendly team we have met, and i dont want it to be the last. our entire goal is to stop the crucible, to fight what it tries to force us to be and do. making allies and friends is part of that, and helps with that.

yeah its a risk, but no more one than we have made numerous times in the past. passing up an opportunity to meet sane, friendly individuals is not something we should do. they arent gonna join our party, if a fight happens we probably wont get to control them(assuming their friendly here), we really dont have anything to lose here other than a risk to safety, but its a risk worth taking.

>>3495080
she could very well be tricking us, but shes pretty willing to put herself in danger too, which doesn't mean nothing. also id assume we can walk around the town and avoid Charon or something, instead of waiting.
>>
>>3495096
>yeah its a risk, but no more one than we have made numerous times in the past. passing up an opportunity to meet sane, friendly individuals is not something we should do.
You know, you're right. We've got Julia in the party right now, and where would she be if we weren't willing to take an offer of trust sincerely. Taking the risk that maybe someone will be sane is strongly in-character, and it's typically payed off, actually. Alright, maybe it's naive, but it's the Shu thing to do. And hey, she starts shit, she'll be right by us and we can grab her with our giant chest-mouth real quick.

>>3495036
Changing my vote.
>>Accept Jackie's offer of a walk.
>>
>>3495036
>Accept Jackie's offer of a walk.
>>
>>3495036
>>3495117
>>3495105
>>3495096

I have to ask BHOP and anons, did we have our adventuring party equip our relics?
>>
>>3495036
Just thought of a thing to add to my vote. We're an empath, we can read emotions and get a weak sense of surface-level thoughts. What are we doing doubting whether someone's sincere?

>>Write-In
>See what we can get from our empathic senses. Do we detect any duplicity?
>>
>>3495124
we did not but i just assumed he would let us do it when combat arose, if it does.
>>
>>3495124
(You have not, but you may certainly elect to choose your layout and have it effective in the present.)

>>3495125
(You can detect that while Jackie is certainly on guard and sizing you up, she has no ill intent towards you. You can tell she's intrigued, more than anything.)
>>
>>3495130
>(You can detect that while Jackie is certainly on guard and sizing you up, she has no ill intent towards you. You can tell she's intrigued, more than anything.)
Okay, then yeah, let's go for a walk. Maybe she's got a mind-shield power, but if we just start assuming every random person we encounter can spoof our psychic senses we might as well not even have them.
>>
>>3495130
>>3495125
oh, well then im more than fine with our decision then.

as for Relics

>Shu
>>Contender

>Rath
>>Cursas Alas
>>Sui Tormentis
Rath feels like shes fallen behind base stats wise, or maybe Julia just jumped so far ahead she makes it look like Rath needs it that much more than her? plus, Rath will enjoy the hell out of the boosters. also Rath might be ok wearing the armor, while Julia id imagine would prefer to not wear the armor.

>Julia
>>Gauntlets

>Amara
>>Shawl
>>Whistle(RHO CUNT)

>Nail and Spine
>>Left back at home
>>
>>3495138
though id imagine with less than 5 minutes to go we should give it til the end of next vote to decide this.
>>
>>3495138
I hesitate to give Rath the Relics that require spending Health and BIO, as Rath's regeneration rate for those is 0%. She'd be really strong with them, but she already has the issue of burning out real quick in a fight.
>>
>>3495130
Load-out:
>Amara: Whistle and cloak.
>Rath: Gauntlets and Sui.
The Armor will give Rath a better bio buffer since she's lacking any form of bio regen or health regen. Also, I don't want Rath to burn out very quickly because of her lack of regen.
>Julia: Booster Wings
Julia's got good regen, and she's equipped with Bloody Ripper should things get dicey. Gauntlets will help with her unarmed attacks.

>Nail and Spine: Left with Gina and Dorian.

>>3495036
>Spawn a FuzzBuzz for Amara:
>Via empathy channel: Amara, load up Rho Cunt. If you don't trust any of Jackie's crew or if you hear the ground say a something scary about Jackie's crew, rub FuzzBuzz's Fur the wrong way. If things start to get fight-y cast "Gra Ter (Rho Cunt)"
>Julia, Rath, Amara, be on guard. If things get very dicey, Amara will cast her spell, Julia, grab Amara and run, Rath, ready a firewall and run with Julia.
>>3495080
I'll support this.
>>
>>3495141
but she also gains a massive boost in defense from the Armor too. if anything, the extra strength boost will help her not have to focus on spending bio due to said abilities such as FISTS now being more effective with less arms and the like.

Julia wouldn't get hit as hard cost wise with it, but also doesn't need the boosts it can give as much i feel. i really do feel Sui at least will work best on Rath, though ill admit while seeing rath fly punch with the boosters i great, i can understand the concern about giving her both at least.

maybe Julia gets the Boosters and Gauntlets, thus Rath only has the Armor draining her at all? considering its permanent boost and she has more Health, the Armor actually works better too, as it wont suck dry her bio like the boosters might.
>>
>>3495148
The armor Drains HP, which Rath has in stock more than her Bio. In addition, Sui Tormentis trades HP for Str in a 1:3 Ratio and her Alabaster armor drains her Bio reserves if she takes HP damage.
>>
>>3495148
Yeah, I think that works better, since Sui Tormentis has a passive bonus, too. So Rath in the spooky bug armor, with Julia wearing bug gloves and pauldrons. Everyone in the party gets bug bits. Oh, except you, Amara. Sorry. Well, you've got FuzzBuzz, so that's almost as good.
>>
>>3495153
i think i worded that poorly as basically all of that was my reasoning for giving it to Rath.

>>3495147
but yeah, this works for Relics.

>>3495155
Amara can make bug noises and run around flapping her arms to make up for it. though im not sure the Sui is bug themed honestly, doesn't use Hive mistress in its construction either so probably not.
>>
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>>3495036

"Quinn!" She yells back, and a girl with bright pink hair and pulsing, too-long limbs leans over the port side of the ship, giving you a wave that's more a flourish of color and motion than a mere greeting. "Tell Ace to follow the shore, I wanna have a chat with Shu and her friends, here."

"Hey cuties!" Quinn calls out, waving even harder as Jackie flips her the bird which the pink-haired girl returns with a laugh. "Well fuck you too then, I'll just be here drinking your part of the stash!"

"I'll shank you, bitch!" Jackie fires back with a laugh. "I'll do it in your sleep, I swear to god!"

A figure in heavy, dented calcite armor steps up from behind Quinn, pulling her back gently before she can scream back another retort.

"Jack, you alright?" Comes a surprisingly high and youthful voice echoing from somewhere within the massive suit.

"Yeah Ace, I'm good." She replies good-naturedly, gesturing for them to set sail. "Go on, scram! I'll be fine, you all worry too much."

With that, they depart northward while you and your allies continue along the shore with Jackie close at hand. After a few moments of awkward silence, you broach what you deem to be a fairly safe topic.

"How long have you and your friends been up, if you don't mind my asking?"

"Couple of months now. The four of us got to know each other really well before the world went tits up, so imagine our fucking surprise when we all wake up at the same time and..." Her eyes go wide when she realizes how young Amara is, and you tense when Jackie draws very close to you, very quickly. "Fuck me, sorry about cussing in front of the kid. Is she good, or do I need to reel it back?"

You're rather taken aback by the sudden offer to clean up her language, and you fumble over your reply more than you'd like to...though that may have something to do with how swiftly she closed the gap between your respective faces.

"Oh, ah...If you don't mind. Just because we're trying to watch ourselves around her, too." You reply, and Jackie gives you a sly wink as she draws back to a respectable distance.

"Gotcha, gotcha." She murmurs, settling into a surprisingly breeze pace beside you, navigating the crooked stones with practiced ease. "What about you and yours? Know each other before the end or meet up after?"

"After." You reply. "How long did you know your friends before the Crucible?"

"One year, eight months, ten days." She rattles off, prompting Rath's eyebrows to shoot up, a fact you notice as you glance past Jackie, who gives you a long, appraising look. "You're sticking to polite topics, and I get why. I'm new, you're not sure about me, and I respect that, but listen; you can't really get to know a person unless you're willing to dig down to the nitty-gritty, really get in there with something that'll show you what they are, where they came from, and where they're going."

"Come on, ask me something fun so we can really get to know each other."

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3495158
>though im not sure the Sui is bug themed honestly, doesn't use Hive mistress in its construction either so probably not.
It's not deliberately bug-themed, but the art BHOP posted for it has a somewhat chitinous quality to the shape of the armor plates. It's bug-adjacent, at least.
>>
>>3495159
>"well, you asked."
>stop and look her in the eyes.
>"what choice did you pick when confronted by mother? What is you and your groups goal?"
>dont be aggressive, but make it clear she asked for this.
>"We all here have chosen to spit in her face, more than once now too. we plan to stop this crucible, not win it."

basically, what could tell us more about her and her group than that? and its only fair we tell her such back if she tells us. its risky, and a bit to the point and serious, but she will either lie, or we will instantly know just how we line up on goals and morals in many ways.

however if anyone has a better way to word it, ill admit this kinda might sounds crass perhaps, even if the question itself i think is a good one to ask, how matters alot.
>>
>>3495159
>"Quantity, Quality, or the fool's choice?"
>"I've got bleed-over effect happening to me since the crucible started."
Here's a potential Titan-class amalgam BHOP. Abilities imply a Humoral Paladin specialist ability if the red longinous lance is anything to go by.
>>
>>3495193
(Ha, I've had that picture in my folder for a while, and I look forward to using it. Excellent taste, Anon.)
>>
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>>3495206
You should look at some of the monster art from Kingdom Death: Monster. Some of them are fucking amazing.
Picture is a Ram Amalgam.
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>>3495159
>"Alright, fun and impolite. What did you choose when Mother offered? I chose nothing, just to spite her, and believe me it was worth it. I am kind of curious what the specializations for Hive Mistress are actually like, though. You get anything cool?"
>>
>>3495229
Another idea
>"So what is your group interested in? You just roaming around looking for adventure, or do you have a goal in mind? Everyone seems to want to get to the Cord, but I've met some girls who are doing their own thing."
>>
>>3495229
>>3495248
ill change to support these actually. though basically the same thing, the wording sounds better than what i put down.
>>
>>3495159

"Alright, fun and impolite." You say, relaxing a bit. "What did you choose when Mother offered? I chose nothing out of spite her, and it was worth it. I'm kind of curious what the specializations for Hive Mistress are actually like, though. You get anything cool?"

"Hive Mistress?" Jackie replies. "Oh no, sorry, that's not my Core power. I really like it, though. It's gotten a little aggressive recently, but what're you gonna do, huh? Anyway, my team and I all took the Fool's Choice, since Mother was a complete idiot and tried to turn us against each other. We kicked her reality to the curb and substituted our own! Alright, my turn."

"Okay, so here goes. So I have this theory, about Core powers, right? I think they're either tied to things that were important to us before all this hit, something we were struggling with, or based on a serious trauma. So, round-table question for everyone present; which is it for you?"

"Interest." You reply, thinking back to when you first crafted FuzzBuzz for Gina and your recollection of your major.

"...S-struggle." Julia replies, and Amara cocks her head at the artist. Rath just puts up a hand when Jackie's gaze alights on her. "Hard pass, thanks."

"Ah, struggle then." Jackie says dismissively, apparently unimpressed with the answers she's received so far. Amara tugs on the hem of Julia's dress, brow furrowed over her two-tone eyes.

"What's 'trauma' mean?" She asks innocently.

"W-well, it means something that was r-really hard to overcome, something that left s-scars, but they don't have to b-be physical." Julia explains, and after a moment of consideration Amara turns to Jackie with an uncharacteristically contemplative air about her.

"That." She says simply. "The last one you said. That's why I can do what I do."

"Damn." Jackie says with a slow, appreciative nod at the younger girl. "I respect that, kiddo. The world could use more survivors like us, I think. It was trauma, for me and mine. We all met in the same hospital. Terminal cases, just ticking of the minutes, days, weeks, left to rot. We read comics, played games and stuff to pass the time. Keane, bless her nerdy soul, there was this one webcomic she kept trying to get us to read, and I tried...like, really freaking tried to get into it, 'cause she kept telling us how great it was, right? It's how we got our name, actually. She said there was this team, see? And after a couple months of her harping on it, it kind of stuck..."

Jackie just chuckles to herself as it dawns on you a little too late who you're walking alongside.

"...she called us The Midnight Crew."

>>"I see. You said you were headed west, and this was just a detour? You're planning to beat the Crucible, I assume?"

>>"...I heard you had a run-in with Marrow Dragoon outside the Monastery. What happened there?"

>>"My turn, then. You have a reputation; why is that?"

>>"With all due respect, I think we're done here, Jacqueline."

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Gentlemen, I shall be pausing here for the evening. Voting shall remain open for the next nine hours, with posting to resume in roughly ten. Thank you all so much for your participation and patience with the delays today, and I hope you have a great evening.)
>>
>>3495311
oh...oh shit.
fucking....BHOP and his bamboozles. godamnit haha you think id have caught on by now but...nope.

>"oh...well, with all due respect, you and yours happen to have quite a reputation, and not one that puts you in good light."
>>send waves over the empathic channel for guards to be raised, but no hostile actions just yet.
>"people we trust very much have not had good things to say about you. but maybe you can put that into better lighting. we all have the same destination afterall, if nothing else, id like everyone to make it there, without any trouble for them before or after."

>>3495318
its been fun BHOP, thanks for running like always, have a good night, and man, you pull more twists than a tornado a swear haha.
>>
>>3495311
>*low whistle*
>"Helluva Red Baron title you got going there. Can't really get any better than that."
>"Were you coming up north from Golgotha's Stadium down south?"
Okay BHOP. I think I see what you're getting at. You cheeky son-uva-bitch.

>>3495324
The boat made of pure blood was the fucking giveaway. And none of us picked up on that fact. Didn't West's reports mention of a witness account of the group of 4 paladins taking on and killing a fucking River Leviathan? Shu had to cross the river via stealth, but those 4 straight-up killed the damn thing! They probably also ate the Leviathan too.

Pic related is how I think of you when you're chronicling the entire quest.
>>
>>3495324
>>3495318
The last statement is directed towards BHOP >>3495340
>>
>>3495324
(Thank you for your kind words, Anon. Im very glad you're enjoying it.)

>>3495342
(Ha, that's fantastic, thank you.)
>>
>>3495324
We've gotten dull witted anon.
>>
>>3495311
>>Write-In
>"Oh, I get it. Yeah, I've heard of you guys. Honestly, I wasn't expecting the names, I vaguely remember Homestuck and I think the Midnight Crew were named after the suits, right? Guess you wanted to make it your own with the face cards, instead, I can respect it. So, not to pry, but gossip spreads and everyone assumed you were going south to the Arena. You get bored of that idea after your last crushing victory, or something?"
>Use the empathic channel to remind everyone to be on their guard but stay calm. Yes, they're powerful and apparently troublemakers, but we're just having a conversation right now and there's no reason to escalate. Yet.

Like I said, just keep cool for now. So she's revealed that she's this really tough gladiatrix, so what? We're not going to be scared of her just because she's got a rep, so do we. We're certified A-1 badass Shu the Defiant, we're not backing down and treating this girl like she's anything special just because she intimidates some other chumps. You see this cute blonde standing next to us? When we met her she had flayed all the skin off her body and turned it into dioramas, we still sat down and had a nice cup of tea. So no, we're not going to give you what you want by acting all spooked. We're going to keep talking like this is a perfectly normal conversation, because that's all it is.

>>3495318
Good night, BHOP. Don't worry about the delays so much, you still get out frequent updates even if they're at slightly inconsistent intervals, you're doing fine. Don't think you're disappointing us. Sleep well, friend.

>>3495340
Hey, there are a lot of Humoral Paladins, it's silly to assume that any given one is Droogs Diamonds here. I just assumed the damage came from a narrow escape, not them killing a Leviathan. No, the real give away was all their names being card puns. Fuck, I should have gotten that. I need to hone my punning senses. I have suppressed them for too long.
>>
>>3495340
i had alot of thoughts on the boat, but simply didn't think any of them meant the midnight crew. certainly did not help that as i said in my vote, people we trust very much made them out to not be the type to even pretend to be friendly, though it still oddly might be shes being genuine, but now im thinking its for two reasons; she has no reason to fear us, but also has no reason to consume us. like with a few others we have seen, for better or worse after a certain level people seem to stop craving constant power/seeing everyone as resources. or at least so far as we have seen so far. id imagine the difference is, those fully craving constant power and just consuming everyone dont really stop ever, so get to the cord pretty quickly.

>>3495353
im not sure thats exactly the case.

see, heres what i was thinking on the boat;
>an individual of immense stats
>a group that consolidated resources
>some poor titan or colossus got drained like a bitch

ill admit i overlooked and had totally forgotten the midnight crew was a group of paladins, but i suppose the thing is, with how they were described aswell as when the second arena was given to us as an option, i assumed they already had crossed the river and wouldn't be near it. how the boat was described as traveling made it seem like someone crossing for the first time perhaps, so on top of at first glance nothing up top guaranteeing it being them, potential clues from other things also made it seem less likely, or moreso wouldn't be enough to jar back the memory and bring them to mind.

its less about dull wits, and more about a lack of information i think. BHOP is good at covering up what hes leading up to by giving us other very likely and logical options for something to be, while never making it not make sense for it to be what it actually is.

>>3495367
i get not making it seem like were intimidated, but considering their reputation i think it is both fair and paramount to bring up the fact it is a very negative reputation they have. ignoring the fact they could be a group we very much shouldn't even give a friendly conversation to seems iffy at least.
>>
>>3495367
>No, the real give away was all their names being card puns. Fuck, I should have gotten that. I need to hone my punning senses. I have suppressed them for too long.
my roommate throws out terrible puns so often i passively ignore them is the problem. its the only way for me to stay sane.
>>
>>3495388
>my roommate throws out terrible puns so often i passively ignore them is the problem. its the only way for me to stay sane.
Right, same here. Is it worth it to let down my defenses in order to better foresee twists in this quest?
>>
>>3495391
>local man willingly succumbs to insanity but gets really good at online game.
i mean, if thats the future you are willing to live with.
>>
>>3495311
>"I see. You said you were headed west, and this was just a detour? You're planning to beat the Crucible, I assume?"
>>
Just to refresh my memory. What exactly has the Midnight Crew done to earn a negative reputation, besides dominating the gladiatorial arena?
>>
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>>3495311
Well there goes my theory that being a Fool's Choice Humoral Paladin could give you access to a secret fifth subclass, seeing as they're all Fool's choice of all four subclasses. I still think that Supine Paladin may exist though.

Anyway, I'm surprised they're visiting the Disassociated Ones instead of heading to the second arena.
>>
>>3495653
We have no idea. They have a reputation for taking down things much stronger than themselves through teamwork, and there's not much information other than that because survivors of encounters with them are rare, but we have no specific deeds to point to. All we know is that everyone at the Monastery was scared just to have them at the doorstep, to the point that Mara personally shoo'd them off.

Which, now that I think about it, is probably just going to further Mara's interest in us after this. We'll have had a talk with the Crew and either gotten out of the conversation amicably or gotten into a fight and had to kill and eat them, either way she'll be all weirdly proud of us. So that's something to look forward to.

>>3495763
Humoral Paladin is still based on personality, if none of them are Supine then they wouldn't have any Supine Paladins even if that does exist. If it does, though, what humor would it be? The Supine temperament was conceived about three thousand years after humorism was, there's no fluid that corresponds to it. Then again, it's not like "black bile" is a real thing, so if Hippocrates can make that up I see no reason why Mother can't make up a new humor of her own.
>>
>>3495773
Maybe cerebrospinal fluid? If it is then it's something that protects well against Neuromancy or pairs well with it when hybridizing. Or saliva, which goes with Gluttonous instead. Or it's a fluid used by alien species of other Crucibles before coming to earth and has no analogues in humans.
>>
>>3495773
that is, if Mara isn't killed by isabelle and we never see her again. Ive got a feeling its unlikely both will walk away from that fight alive.
>>
>>3495795
Oh no. Who will take care of the meat dragon once Mara is gone? Us, maybe? Actually, yeah, maybe us. Level up Gina's Neuromancy a few more times and she'll probably be able to go from hijacking constructs to hijacking Amalgams. Ooh, what if that's our new fast travel method after our Threat Level gets too high to use the Waystations? It's just not the second half of an RPG without unlocking the airship.
>>
>>3495798
Haha, i doubt we would get her dragon as she took it with her, but i can imagine getting ourselves an amalgam pet is an option. Amara would love that too.
>>
>>3495800
Just because she took it with her doesn't mean we won't encounter it later. We could just find it roaming the wilderness alone, and that's how we'll know she's dead. I mean, it's a long shot, I don't know where BHOP is going to go with their confrontation, but I want to ride the meat dragon. He can be like Flammie from Secret of Mana, only utterly disgusting to touch. We'll name him Carl, and feed him delicious faces.
>>
>>3495804
We'll find the dragon hurt badly and mourning the death of Mara, despite now being free, listening to its wails of anguish as Amara tells us it cries for its master like a dog whos owner never returned home.
>>
I had a shower thought, if Dorian and Julia are going down the intimacy route of romance, what happens if/when Julia gets pregnant in Body Horror Quest?
>>
>>3495860
Well, dorian is not biologically a guy, so thats nit an issue
>>
>>3495864
look, his self sexual identification is male, and Mom gave him a amorphous body that allows him to define his gender. So just bear with me with this hypothetical question.
>>
>>3495866
But that still doesn't mean he is capable of creating his half of the serum, as it was.

That being said, even though IC we do not know this, ooc BHOP has said some amalgams used to be human males, so i guess technically your question could still stand under different circumstances.
>>
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>>3495311

"Oh, I get it.” You reply jovially, sending out a wave of temperate calm to your allies. It may be four-to-one, but with someone that took Mara to drive off, those aren’t odds you’re happy about. “Yeah, I've heard of you guys. Honestly, I wasn't expecting the names, I vaguely remember Homestuck and I think the Midnight Crew were named after the suits, right? Guess you wanted to make it your own with the face cards, instead, I can respect it.”

“Ha, Keane’ll be thrilled someone’s still kicking around who remembers it.” Jackie says with a grin, with Rath’s knuckles bright white just behind her as she fixes the slender girl with a wary glare. You glance to your left, and Julia’s already pushed Amara back and has prepared to body-block against any forthcoming assault...though you really hope it doesn’t come to that.

“So, not to pry, but gossip spreads and everyone assumed you were going south to the Arena.” You say, trying to keep your voice light. “You get bored of that idea after your last crushing victory, or something?"

“Or something.” Jackie smirks. “But yeah, it got boring. All these Daughters though they were hot stuff until they fought someone actually worth their weight in bio. So we decided to double-back to the river here and check out the Leviathan. Now *that* was a fight. But hey, that’s not a toughie, so I’ll let you have another crack at your question.”

"Alright…so, I have to know; people we trust very much have not had less-than-stellar things say about you, but maybe you can put that into better context.” You begin, keeping a careful eye on Jackie’s sharp features. “We all have the same destination after all. If nothing else, I’d like everyone to make it there without any trouble for them before or after."

“Ah, so Dragoon’s been talking us down as much as she’s been talking you up, I take it?” Jackie muses before chuckling at the eyebrow you raise. “Yeah, I’ve heard of you too, Defiant. Cool title, I dig it. But yeah, some people don’t take stock in the philosophy that my girls and I share, and I respect that.”

“How so?”

“Well, it all goes back to that theory I was working on.” She begins, her gaze alight with excitement. “You see, my crew and I? We were left to die in that hellhole of a ward, just ticking off the seconds ‘till our bodies betrayed us one last time. Ace was in agony, her dialysis was worse than death. Keane’s liver was about to damn-near murder her, and Quinn’s white blood cells couldn’t agree with the red ones. As for me, well…that’s neither here nor there.”

Her black eyes glint with fire and fervor, and your hive starts to twitch in anticipation.

(Continued)
>>
>>3495882

“This is the freest we’ve ever been, Shu. This crucible? It’s a blessing. We went through hell and back, and we’ve been rewarded with life and power beyond anything out of Keane’s wildest stories.

“See, I think…no, I know we got this far because we’re worthy. But some people out there, kicking it like they own the place when they haven’t earned this shit? Well that just doesn’t sit well with me, Shu. So my sisters and I are going to win this thing and check out who’s the real deal, and who aren’t."

“So where does that leave us, then?” You ask, jaw set as Jackie stops walking just ahead of you. She turns and regards each of you slowly, fingers slipped into her pockets with her thumb hooked around the outside.

“The kid’s fine. Even with a couple of points in Neuromancy I can see she’s been through the wringer, so she’s good in my book. As for the wallflower and the ginger?” She coolly rattles off her assessment of your friends. “Debatable. When it comes to you, well…you got Mara’s protection, and that’s a bear me and mine don’t want to poke right yet.”

Your entire team is on edge, Amara included. The five of you are simply poised on the broken shore, bodies tensed save for Jackie, composed and relaxed a few meters ahead of you. Suddenly, she bursts into a fit of chuckles as she wags her finger at you.

“Ah, you sly dog, you got me monologuing. Anyway, it’s my turn.” She chides with a wide grin. “Mara’s this big legend, but she’s got more bodies under her belt than my girls and I combined. In fact, I’m guessing you and she met under circumstances that might’ve cast her a light of the same shade as my crew and I, yeah? So here’s my question.”

Her smile’s lasted a little too long, having passed the point where it was anything close to disarming.

Now it’s just the baring of teeth.

“Why does Mara think you’re so special?”

>>”Because I’m like her.”

>>”Because I took the Fool’s Choice.”

>>”Because I don’t subscribe to your philosophy.”

>>"Because I'm not like her...or you."

>>”…We’re done here, Jackie.”

>>Stay silent.

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3495883
>>"Because im not like you, or her, or any number of fools who think to win this damned hell game."
>>narrow eyes.
>>"Im the fool who plans to end it. No winners, no new mother. We find a way to save who we can, and what we can."
>>"And we stop who we have to if they get in our way."
>>
(Voting shall remain open for the next two hours, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3495889
Amending with some addons to be said first, then thst stuff;
>"You know what's funny? I owe the crucible my life too."
>"I didn't exist before this, i was a girl named sam, then well..."
>Chuckle, and bop your head.
>"An old friend took a lava lamp to our head just before this all happened. Woke up as a clean slate, a new person."
>Frown
>"A better person. One who actually had a shred of human decency, and didn't let the crucible tell me what was right or wrong, but who defied it and made their own path."
>>
>>3495883

>"We're the chosen ones because we suffered."

Eh, we came back from the dead.
>>
>>3495883
>"Hell if I know for sure. I'm certain I'm not the only person to want to end the Crucible in a way other than intended. A way that doesn't make losers out of everyone left."
>"Maybe it's just that I try my best."
>>
>>3495883
>Start a slow walk towards Jack
>"I had an identity of a selfish bitch before all of this. She died on moment before the Crucible started. An old friend did me in with a Lava lamp to the skull."
>mimic a pop to the head with the gesture.
>"I woke up with a clean slate, a new person with a side effect of amnesia."
>"As to answer your question on why Mara's taken an interest in me..."
>"Me and my friends executed an impromptu heist that threw one of Mara's planned raids awry, stole her prize right under her nose, and got away with it scot-free. How's that for Mara's first impression of me?"
>Form up Chitinous Fullbody. have it slowly assemble.
>"But you see, Mother's got me on her personal shit list. She once visited me in attempt to cow me after seeing one of my friends also make the Fool's choice. She taunted me, deconstructed my life's story before the crucible. For being a blind fool to the bigger picture"
>Draw out Karma gun, turn it into Lion Heart Form.
>"And you know what I did? I gave her a lecture in return deconstructing her entire life's story of what she was before she ascended, reminding her of what she could've done to save her world."
>"I stared into abyss that was Mother. She lost the staring contest."
>Stop right in front of Jackie, face to face.
>"I'm not Mara, who seeks a fabled immortal Vitruvian to help ease everyone's pain in this world. She tries to make it work where everyone can eke out a "living" in this crucible.
>"I'm not like you and your crew who seeks to give Mother the middle finger without a care about the collateral you caused. You're Anti-heroes at best, but Murderous hobo-bitches at worst. Besides, the Cake at the end of the crucible is a lie. Winning the big chair just resets and restarts this twisted game."
>"I'm a fool who's risking it all to end it all at the source. Anyone who thinks otherwise by trying to stop us or by winning Mother's big chair is a damn fool. Be it Mother herself or the Midnight crew."
>Draw a line in the sand with the Karma gun.
>"You've bared your teeth, I've bared mine. What's left between us now is who's got the tougher spine. So if you dare, then. cross. this. line."
>>
>>3495929
I dont dislike it, but i feel like thats a bit too agressive and self aggrandising for Shu. Sounds more like something Rath would say to me, not Shu.
>>
>>3495942
Can you help edit it then?
>>
>>3495929
Amending my vote into a composite speech with >>3495889 vote.
>Start a slow walk towards Jack
>"You know what's funny? I owe the crucible my life too."
>"I didn't exist before this, i was a girl named sam, then well..."
>Chuckle, and bop your head.
>"An old friend took a lava lamp to our head just before this all happened. Woke up as a clean slate, a new person."
>Frown
>"A better person. One who actually had a shred of human decency, and didn't let the crucible tell me what was right or wrong, but who defied it and made their own path."
>Form up Chitinous Fullbody. have it slowly assemble.
>"I'm not Mara, who seeks a fabled immortal Vitruvian to help ease everyone's pain in this world. She tries to make it work where everyone can eke out a "living" in this hellish game. The Crucible's stalled for so long that Mother herself is making the world worse by upping the Hunger."
>Stop right in front of Jackie, face to face.
>"I'm not like you and your crew who seeks to give Mother the middle finger without a care about the collateral you caused. You're Anti-heroes at best, but Murderous hobo-bitches at worst. Besides, the Cake at the end of the crucible is a lie. Winning the big chair just resets and restarts this twisted game."
>Draw out Karma Gun, turn it into LionHeart.
>"I'm the fool who plans to end it. No winners, no new mother. We find a way to save who we can, and what we can."
>Draw a line in the sand with the Karma gun.
>"You've bared your teeth, I've bared mine. What's left between us now is who's got the tougher spine. So if you dare, then. cross. this. line."

>>3495942
How's this for an edit?
>>
>>3495929
>>3495944
>Stare jack down
>"I had an identity of a selfish bitch before all of this. She died on moment before the Crucible started. An old friend did me in with a Lava lamp to the skull."
>mimic a pop to the head with the gesture.
>"I woke up with a clean slate, a new person with a side effect of amnesia."
>"Im not sure why Mara has taken an interest in me, and i dont care either."
>"maybe its because Me and my friends executed an impromptu heist that threw one of Mara's planned raids awry, stole her prize, a friend of ours that was dying, right from her grip."
>Form up Chitinous Fullbody. have it slowly assemble as you take a good few steps towards her.
>Or maybes its got to do with the fact Mother's got me on her personal shit list. She once visited me in attempt to cow me after seeing one of my friends also make the Fool's choice. She taunted me, deconstructed my life's story before the crucible. For being a blind fool to the bigger picture"
>Draw out Karma gun, turn it into Lion Heart Form.
>"And you know what I did? I gave her a lecture in return deconstructing her entire life's story of what she was before she ascended, reminding her of what she could've done to save her world."
>"I stared into abyss that was Mother. She lost the staring contest."
>Stop a vit infront of Jackie.
>"I'm not Mara, who seeks a fabled immortal Vitruvian to help ease everyone's pain in this world. She tries to make it work where everyone can eke out a "living" in this crucible. "
>"I'm not like you and your crew who seeks to give Mother the middle finger without a care about the collateral you caused."
>"I'm a fool who's risking it all to end it all at the source. Damn be whoever thinks to stop me and my friend's."
>Draw a line in the sand with the Karma gun.
>"But i doubt im the only one whos ever done any of that. Im no one special, the only thing making me different than others similar to me is that eight here, right now, your threatening me and my friends, and what we stand for, and that means you seem to want to be a problem."
>"You've bared your teeth, I've bared mine. What's left between us now is who's got the tougher spine. So if you dare, then. cross. this. line."
>>
>>3495953
Nice. I quite like this.
>>
am >>3495955
linking >>3495953
to>>3495883
>>
>>3495949
Not bad yourself, took some good parts from both of ours.
>>>3495955
I was mostly just helping with yours, but glad you think it turned out well. Only thing i can think to add maybe is something about how thier suffering doesn't make them right, and how enacting suffering on others after their own only makes them hypocrites.

But where and exact wording eludes me at the moment.
>>
>>3495883
So i think this is my final vote;
>Stare jack down
>"You know what's funny? I owe the crucible my life too."
>"I didn't exist before this, i was a girl named sam, then well..."
>Chuckle, and bop your head.
>"An old friend took a lava lamp to our head just before this all happened. Woke up as a clean slate, a new person."
>Frown
>"A better person. One who actually had a shred of human decency, and didn't let the crucible tell me what was right or wrong, but who defied it and made their own path."
>"Im not sure why Mara has taken an interest in me, and i dont care either."
>"maybe its because Me and my friends executed an impromptu heist that threw one of Mara's planned raids awry, stole her prize, a friend of ours that was dying, right from her grip."
>Form up Chitinous Fullbody. have it slowly assemble as you take a good few steps towards her.
>Or maybes its got to do with the fact Mother's got me on her personal shit list. She once visited me in attempt to cow me after seeing one of my friends also make the Fool's choice. She taunted me, deconstructed my life's story before the crucible. For being a blind fool to the bigger picture"
>Draw out Karma gun, turn it into Lion Heart Form.
>"And you know what I did? I gave her a lecture in return deconstructing her entire life's story of what she was before she ascended, reminding her of what she could've done to save her world."
>"I stared into abyss that was Mother. She lost the staring contest."
>Stop a vit infront of Jackie.
>"I'm not Mara, who seeks a fabled immortal Vitruvian to help ease everyone's pain in this world. She tries to make it work where everyone can eke out a "living" in this crucible. "
>"I'm not like you and your crew who seeks to give Mother the middle finger without a care about the collateral you caused. Who thinks suffering justifies making others suffer."
>"I'm a fool who's risking it all to end it all at the source. Damn be whoever thinks to stop me and my friend's."
>Draw a line in the sand with the Karma gun.
>"But i doubt im the only one whos ever done any of that. Im no one special, the only thing making me different than others similar to me is that eight here, right now, your threatening me and my friends, and what we stand for, and that means you seem to want to be a problem."
>"You've bared your teeth, I've bared mine. What's left between us now is who's got the tougher spine. So if you dare, then. cross. this. line."
>>
>>3495883

"You know what’s funny? I owe the Crucible my life, too. I didn’t exist before all this. I was a girl named Sam, and then…” You trail off , staring daggers at Jack as you tap the knuckles of your right hand against your skull. "An old friend took a lava lamp to our head just before all this happened. I woke up with a clean slate, a new person…”

“…a better person.”

Taking a step forwards, platelings start to skitter out of your hive, crawling down your limbs as you slowly summon the Chitinous Stalwart.

"I’m not sure why Mara's taken an interest in me, and I don’t care." You continue, your legs completely encased in glossy green-black armor. “Maybe it’s because me and my friends executed an impromptu heist that threw one of Mara's planned raids awry. We stole her prize right from her grip. Or maybes it’s got to do with the fact Mother's got me on her personal shit list. She once visited me in attempt to cow me after seeing one of my friends also make the Fool's choice. She taunted me, deconstructed my life's story before the Crucible, for being a blind fool to the bigger picture."

Jackie regards you coldly, remaining perfectly still as you draw the Contender’s barrel from its holster as you approach, watching it twist into a gleaming blade with her jet black eyes.

“You know what I did? I gave her a lecture in turn, deconstructing her entire life's story of what she was before she ascended, reminding her of what she could've done to save her world. I stared into abyss that was Mother. She blinked." You intone, coming to a stop a mere meter from the other girl, your form completely girded with reflective chitin.
"I'm not Mara, who seeks a fabled immortal Vitruvian to help ease everyone's pain in this world. She tries to make it work where everyone can eke out a "living" in this crucible. I'm not like you and your crew who seeks to give Mother the middle finger without a care about the collateral you caused. I'm a fool who's risking it all to end it all at the source, and God help whoever thinks they can stop us."

A sweep of your blade carves a perfect line between the two of you, and you hear several extra sets of arms tear free of Rath’s back at the same moment Amara take in a breath, ready to let loose a storm of epithets from around Julia’s squared shoulders.

"But I doubt I’m the only one who’s ever done any of that. I’m no one special, Jackie. The only thing making me different than others similar to me is that right here, right now, you’re threatening me and my friends and what we stand for, and that means you seem to want to be a problem. You've bared your teeth, I've bared mine. What's left between us now is who's got the tougher spine.”

You match her icy glare with one of your own, a chill gently pulsing through your veins, the calm before the bloodbath. You take in a hissing breath, accepting what comes next.

“So if you dare, then Cross. This. Line."

(Continued)
>>
>>3496039

The two of you stand like that for what feels like an eternity, staring at each other with unblinking resilience.

Suddenly Jackie inhales sharply through her nose, taking her eyes off you to cast a glance towards the boat that’s shrinking in the distance before heaving a sigh. She’s still not looking at you when she starts to speak.

“So Dragoon’s hunting the Vitruvian? Good to know.” She hums, eyeing the other side of the river. “Depending on how that fight shakes out, well…you’ll be seeing my crew and I when one legend has had their fill of the other.”

She issues a harsh, ugly bark of laughter, finally turning to you with a snarl.

“As much as I’m looking forward to giving Mother a good shanking, I’ve got to admit that alien bitch and I have something in common, now.” She says, her eye narrowing as a vicious grin splits her face. “You’ve got a way of worming onto peoples’ shit-lists, Defiant.”

The line you’ve drawn is covered by sand and gravel with a kick of her heel as she turns, striding towards the shore as her lower legs unfurl, shredding her pants and shoes as they reshape into a pair of hideous skis, the skin going sickly yellow and rigid, impervious to the acid as she stands at the water’s edge.

“That kid’ll be fine, but I can’t say the same for you or the ginger.” She calls back, her upper body erupting in a patchwork armor of topaz crystals. “I’ll see you soon, Defiant. Real soon.”

With that, she kicks off the shore, propelling herself along the river’s surface and back towards her crew with deliberate speed.

“Yeah, you better run!” Amara shouts, and Rath lets out a shallow cough of a laugh, composed mostly of the tense breath she was holding. Sensing a pressure on your shoulder, you turn to see Julia’s gentle hand on your smooth pauldron. Your armor recedes as your bare hand meets hers, and you squeeze her fingers with a smile before turning to watch Jackie speed across the acidic surface.

That went better than you expected, at least, but the fact still remains…both your teams and Jackie’s are aiming towards the same destination, with vastly different intentions.

>>They may have a boat, but they’ll still have to ascend the mountains…meaning you still have a chance to beat them to the Disassociated Ones if you hustle.

>>You’ll still go at your own pace to meet the DO, and you’ll just have to hope that the Midnight Crew deems them ‘worthy.’

>>With all four of them poised to beat you to the punch up the mountains, getting caught in the crossfire of the Disassociated and the Midnight Crew isn’t something you’re willing to risk.

>>Write-In.

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3496041
>>They may have a boat, but they’ll still have to ascend the mountains…meaning you still have a chance to beat them to the Disassociated Ones if you hustle.
I kinda doubt the DOs are a bunch of weaklings, but nonetheless lets get them a warning if we can.

Also whew, was expecting a skirmish at least. Not upset with what we said and did, but also not sure how i feel about that outcome. Guess we got another problem to add to the list.
>>
>>3496041
Whew. On the bright side, she didn't rip our group to shreds right then and there. But on the other hand, it's pretty much confirmed that we've made a new enemy out of the Midnight Crew.

My vote is that we race them to the Disassociated Ones. At the very least, to see what their group is about before we run the risk of having them gobbled up by Jackie and her team. Get Amara to buff our speed and smooth out the terrain to make our spring as fast as possible.

We'll hopefully have enough time to get an idea of who the Disassociated Ones are before the bloodbath. And if one side is looking better than the other, we'll decide who to pick if it comes down to a fight.

Because there's no way we're missing out on the metal-as-fuck carnage that's going to be four badass chaotic evil psychopaths versus a squadron of ex military cyborgs.
>>
>>3496055
I mean, i can tell you without a doubt if it comes to a fight between the two, helping the DOs is in our best interest.
>>
(Voting shall close in two hours, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3496041
>>They may have a boat, but they’ll still have to ascend the mountains…meaning you still have a chance to beat them to the Disassociated Ones if you hustle.

>>3496060
Yeah, probably. At the very least we need them alive to tell us about breaking the B'Ni Bond.
>>
>>3496041
>>>With all four of them poised to beat you to the punch up the mountains, getting caught in the crossfire of the Disassociated and the Midnight Crew isn’t something you’re willing to risk.
>>
>>3496060
Yeah, it's almost a certainty that the Midnight Crew is completely incompatible with us. I just want to make sure that we know what kind of people we're helping out by working with them to deal with a threat. For all we know, they could somehow be way worse - but it would take a lot to outdo the Murderhobo Quartet.
>>
>>3496075
Fair point yeah. Context clues seem to imply they are at least decent folk but you never know i suppose.

Hopefully if they are bad, they are not the type of bad that aligns with the MCs world view at least.
>>
So, anyone want to guess as to which Crew are which humors? Jackie appears to be Choleric, extroverted and ambitious and with yellow bile. Keane I'd guess is Sanguine, talkative and social and having an issue with her liver. Quinn and Ace we don't know much about, but the white blood cells Quinn was having an issue with make me think Phlegmatic. One of the theories of the origins of humorism is that it came from how blood separates out. Dark black clot (black bile), red blood cells (blood), white blood cells (phlegm) and yellowish plasma (yellow bile). Which would leave Ace as Melancholic Humor.
>>
>>3496041
>They may have a boat, but they’ll still have to ascend the mountains…meaning you still have a chance to beat them to the Disassociated Ones if you hustle.
>Spawn Bishops for you and your friends to increase your speed. Have Amara boost your speeds and smooth out the terrain.
>>
>>3496041
>>3496041
>They may have a boat, but they’ll still have to ascend the mountains…meaning you still have a chance to beat them to the Disassociated Ones if you hustle.
>Amara Cast "Gra San Tha" and give everyone a speed boost.
>Spawn 5 Knightlings (one of them is SirFuzzBuzz) and a BishopBug (190% bio). Fuse 4 of the Knightlings into a pair of bigger, fiercer, and Faster Hornet Hellknights (60% bio)
>Amara Rides a Knightling
>Julia gets equipped with a Bishop Bug and Cursus Alas. She runs with the boosters and bishop active
>Shu Rides a Hornet Hellknight.
>Rath also rides a Hornet Hellknight
Racing plan:
>Amara's Gra San Tha will give everyone a speed boost on the flat land, Julia's boosters and Rath's armor boost will compensate for lost speed. Shu rides a Hornet Hell knight while Amara rides SirFuzzBuzz.
>When it comes to the mountain, Shu and Julia will ride HellHornets providing mobile footholds for Rath to slingshot herself upwards. Amara can pass difficult terrain so she'll be mostly safe, with Sir-FuzzBuzz catching her if she misses a climb check.
>Depending on how ahead or behind we are in racing against the DOs, we could have Amara leave patches of Tentacle rocks behind us on the climb to slow the bloody quartet.
>Also, have Amara take point, she has the literal lay of the land that would give us the fastest and safest route to the DOs. Have her ask the ground to help us "win a race" against Jackie to the DOs base. Ask for the fastest and safest route with as few obstacles as possible.
>>
>>3496103
amending: Overall, make sure everyone has the same highest average runspeed.
>>
Clicked post too fast.

If we end up fighting them, I don't expect to kill any of them even with the DO's support. More likely they'll withdraw if it gets too dangerous for one of their members. They are all Fool's Choice, after all. Just as well. I think Gina's Domination Collar would do well to disrupt them in a later rematch, and I want to give their citrine humoral paladin power to Dorian for another color, giving orange by mixing it with his red.
>>
>>3496085
I know literally nothing about the humors or what they even actually are honestly. Only what minor stuff has come up in the quest.

>>3496111
You're probably right, but for now just driving them off is enough. As for consuming, i mean sure, but might be awhile before thats even something we can consider a possibility.
>>
>>3496100
>>3496100
Bishops are more for bursts of speed than extended. I'm not sure if even a slow trickle of its speed drug would work for long-distance travel. Though I can see it being useful for getting over particularly tough obstacles in the mountains, so if you meant to save it for that, then sure, good idea.

Amara leaving traps with Grinding Earth is a good idea, too. I'm not sure how long Skintalked terrain persists, but setting up a few in chokepoints could slow the Crew down a lot. Won't hurt them, really, but will annoy them enough to make them take extra time to deal with them.

>>3496111
Maybe. But they're noted as not being super tough themselves, just really good at coordinating their abilities for greater effect. Same as our party, they punch above their weight class thanks to good team tactics. But if they have to split their attention due to being attacked by cyborgs on one side and another well-coordinated team on the other? I can see them losing a member here. Which will move Jackie from "fuck that prissy bitch, I'm not scared of her" to "shit, okay, she needs to die NOW". And that will be fun, to make an enemy like that.
>>
>>3496132
Or we down one and hold her hostage to make the others back off in exchange for her safety. They care about each other at least, so I think they'd acquiesce.
>>
>>3496132
>>3496198
The only question is: Whom do we separate? We have 3 knowns and 1 unknown. Ace, Quinn, Keane, and Jack.
>>
>>3496200
We would have to see them in Action a bit to know who we might be able to pick off like that.
>>
>>3496202
So what's our plan here? Get ahead of the crew, warn the DOs, then set-up an ambush point once the crew tangles with the DO defenses and pick one of them off?
Also, I'm leaving for work. I just hope to god that the pace goes slow enough that I get to come back an contribute.
>>
>>3496206
If we can, we should pick off all of them, or as many as we can. It's probably unlikely, given their implied strength level, but if we take out only one of them, then the other three would rip apart the entire Crucible if it meant getting to us.
>>
>>3496206
>>3496231
Well, the thing is, its not our turf, its the DOs. We also dont know for an absolute fact they plan to attack the DOs, only that it is a possibility.

Im gonna guess the DOs are gonna at best simply go on high alert, but wont condone an ambush or preemitive attack. They have no reason to trust our word afterall, only at best the midnight crews reputation.
>>
>>3496200
I don't think we know enough yet to specifically target anyone. Whoever we can isolate, we do. Preferably while spouting utterly incomprehensible memes as a finisher line.

>>3496256
We may want to spawn some stealthed Knights, though, just in case. Leave them outside the windows, so they can bust in if things do go as we expect.
>>
Also wanna point out Jackie is an idiot. I mean, what the hell she thinks gonna happen with Amara? She herself has a group thats tight nit based solely on friendship to the point of defying mother of it, and its far from hard to see we're a similar group in that regard.

What? She gonna try and avoid having to fight Amara when she comes after us? Then, in her eyes, shes gonna slaughter everyone Amara cares about in front of her then just leave her to die alone? Certainly Amara wouldn't be joining them after that, hell her sole purpose after that might just be revenge.

I dunno it irks me a bit how she keeps saying Amara as an exception while ignoring how even if she could pull that off all she would be doing is actually possibly making her stuffer more. also at the end she kinda let Julia off the leash too, which seemed weird to me aswell.

>>3496280
Maybe. boy howdy though, you guys plans are leaving us little to no Bio for incase a fight does break out. Even if said bio is in swarmlings the bishops will be used up and our reserves for other abilites will be next to nill.
>>
>>3496294
we regenerate our bio as we race to the base. spend bio now regenerate a good portion of it by the time we get there
>>
>>3496305
That all depends on how long a turn is considered outside of combat. But fair enough point.
>>
>>3496294
>What? She gonna try and avoid having to fight Amara when she comes after us? Then, in her eyes, shes gonna slaughter everyone Amara cares about in front of her then just leave her to die alone? Certainly Amara wouldn't be joining them after that, hell her sole purpose after that might just be revenge.
Yeah, it's dumb logic. She sees Amara as a kindred spirit, another kid who got a bad shake and is fighting in this crazy world despite that. But she's ignoring the fact that Amara is only able to do that because she has a support group to keep her safe while she's getting strong in body and mind. Jackie did, too, the Mignight Crew supported themselves, but she probably thinks of that as an in-group vs. out-group and so doesn't see it that way. They're a single unit, in her eyes, but Amara is somehow separate from her team. It's dumb. But Jackie's also probably fourteen years old and only looks older because of the body horror kind of blurring those lines (remember how young Ace sounded?), so I don't expect her to be very smart.

>>3496308
The turns being longer doesn't hurt us so much, because Bishops have durations measured in turns and so they'll last longer, too. A Bishop lasts three turns and costs 40% BIO to make, Shu regains 20% BIO per turn, so no matter what she'll have recouped the cost of making one by the time it wears out.
>>
>>3496256
if you read jack’s lines, she said they plan on showing the DOs who’s worthy by challenging their leaders to battle or by causing a ruckus for kicks and to see how tough they are.
>>
>>3496336
not an exact statement nut that the paraphrased implication
>>
>>3496041

“Come on.” You declare, hive writhing with creation as you summon forth a myriad of wriggling forms. They writhe and crack, shifting into larger Swarmlings to allow you and your team the speed you’ll need to reach your destination before Jackie and her team can. “We need to make good time if we’re gonna beat the Midnight Crew to the Disassociated, so let’s get moving.”

Within seconds the four of you are hurtling down the beach, you and Rath riding a pair of massive hornets, with Amara atop a customized FuzzBuzz Knightling of her own as Julia dashes alongside you, propelled by the Cursus Alas.

“You w-were amazing b-back there, by t-the way.” Julia says, drawing closer to keep pace with you. “I m-mean about the M-Midnight Crew too, b-but also about hearing me out, and s-stuff.”

“It takes an amazing kind of person to open up, and I’m honored you trust me enough to do so.” You reply, sparing a glance her way before returning your focus to the road ahead.

“Of c-course I do.” Julia murmurs, another question clearly on her lips. “S-so…c-could you…um, h-how are things going with G-Gina?”

“Well, she’s been amazing so far, and with Wwhat we’ve learned from West’s notes she may be our ace in the hole against the Cord. If she can get in there and hijack it without us having to win the Crucible, then we can change the game, maybe even reverse all this. It’s huge.”

When Julia’s silent for a moment, you turn to face her, and to your surprise she somehow manages a withering stare even as she races down the beach.

“N-no, I mean *p-personally.*” She emphasizes.

Oh.

“…If I’m being honest, it’s…rocky?” You say, keeping an eye on how far ahead Amara and Rath are racing as you try to put what you’ve been feeling into words. “I mean, I can’t really remember any other relationships I had before or…hell, during my time with Isabelle, so I’m not even sure I know what a healthy relationship Iis.”

She nods enthusiastically, inexplicably keeping her attention on you as she boosts over a patch of particularly craggy ground as you continue.

“It’s all really new to me, and I guess I don’t want to make any mistakes with all tthis, either. Does that make sense?”

“Of c-course!” Julia nods, chewing her lip before she poses her next question. “S-so, d-do you miss her?”

>>”I mean…kind of? I guess when you opened up earlier, it kind of got me thinking about how she and I are very….different, when it comes to showing physical affection. All I really know is B’ni, so…I guess I’m a little gun-shy too, in a way.”

>>”Ha…if I’m being be honest, I can’t wait to get back.” You reply with a sheepish grin. “It’s scary, but it’s…really nice to have someone that you can just chill with. I feel relaxed around her, so…yeah. I do miss her.”

>>”No. I have a goal, and I need to focus on that."

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3496336
Ah, my bad for missing that then.

>>3496348
Hrm, well i kinda feel like striking a balance between the two top choices. Any ideas?
>>
(Voting shall remain open for the next two hours, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3496348
>”Ha…if I’m being be honest, I can’t wait to get back.” You reply with a sheepish grin. “It’s scary, but it’s…really nice to have someone that you can just chill with. I feel relaxed around her, so…yeah. I do miss her.”
>"I'm still not that used to intimacy and showing romantic affection though. I'm a bit gun-shy I suppose. But I am interested in it, and I'm working up to it. I kind of need to learn all this stuff compared to everyone else, after all."
>>
>>3496399
+1
>>
>>3496348
>....yeah. i miss her.
>>
>>3496348
Well that's a bit of a weird question, Julia. It's been at most a day since we last saw Gina, probably not even twelve hours, why would we be missing her already? We're not that needy, and even if we were we've got a long-distance telepathic communication channel. Is this about your own issues with romantic love? You've got trouble processing romance, so without there being an obvious performative aspect to Shu and Gina's relationship you get worried because you don't know how well we're actually doing. Probably some desire to use us as a model for her behavior, too. Oh, sweetie.

>>”Ha…if I’m being be honest, I can’t wait to get back.” You reply with a sheepish grin. “It’s scary, but it’s…really nice to have someone that you can just chill with. I feel relaxed around her, so…yeah. I do miss her.”

Which I'm interpreting as Shu not particularly missing her yet, but knowing that this is going to be one frustrating day, and really looking forward to be able to come back to someone she can cuddle up with.
>>
>>3496493
(Well done on the subtext, Anon. You nailed it.)
>>
>>3496376
Agreed. It seems as though Julia wants to know what another relationship is like, so she can compare it to her own confused feelings and see if she feels anything for Dorian.

And I ship the HELL out of the Art duo, so we should respond with a bit of both. To emphasize that everybody can feel a bit uncertain about love, but when you really care about someone, you want to spend time with them and be yourself around them. This way, we deepen Shu's feelings regarding Gina, and give Julia an idea of what a healthy romance can be.

>>"Ha... if I’m being be honest, I can’t wait to get back,” you reply with a sheepish grin. "I mean..." You chew your lip in thought. "I guess when you opened up earlier, it kind of got me thinking about how she and I are very….different, when it comes to showing physical affection. All I really know is B’ni, so…I guess I’m a little gun-shy too, in a way. Sorry if I'm not finding the right words to express myself, I'm not an expert when it comes to romance.”
>>"But even though we're a bit different, we're still finding ways to make it work. It’s scary, and sometimes I have no idea what I'm doing, but it’s…really nice to have someone that you can just chill with. I feel relaxed around her, I can just be myself, talk about stuff and not have to worry about being judged or scorned. Even for an hour, or a half hour, the rest of the world, the whole Crucible, just... vanishes. It's just the two of us, together."
>"So…yeah. I do miss her.”
>>
>>3496348
Changing to supporting >>3496526, because that's really good. I was trying to come up with a write-in for that same idea, but couldn't articulate my thoughts and so just went with a default response, but that nails it.
>>
>>3496437
Im this anon, just in case trips fuck up

Changing my vote for
>>3496526
>>
>>3496526
Ill support this. Good job anon.
Honestly im not big into the whole shipping or romance aspects of this, but if its gonna happen glad to see it being done with thought and care from other anons.
>>
>>3496541
>>3496553
Thanks! I'm working on my writing skills at the moment, so positive feedback is always appreciated. I'm happy to hear that I can contribute to this quest in a positive way.
>>
>>3496348
>>”I mean…kind of? I guess when you opened up earlier, it kind of got me thinking about how she and I are very….different, when it comes to showing physical affection. All I really know is B’ni, so…I guess I’m a little gun-shy too, in a way.”
>>
>>3496569
>>3496526
(I second what the other Anons said; nicely done! I've been very pleasantly surprised at the quality of write-ins I've seen in the Veins so far.)
>>
>>3496638
(Thanks BHOP! This whole quest is so awesomely written - coming from you, that's really encouraging. I'll keep up the good work!)
>>
(Back home and writing now, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3496348

"Ha... if I’m being be honest, I can’t wait to get back,” you reply with a sheepish grin.

"I mean..." You chew your lip in thought. "...I guess when you opened up earlier, it kind of got me thinking about how she and I are very….different, when it comes to showing physical affection. All I really know is B’ni, so…I guess I’m a little gun-shy too, in a way. Sorry if I'm not finding the right words to express myself, I'm not an expert when it comes to romance.”

"N-no, it's okay, this is...you're great, Shu. P-please keep t-talking, if you're up for it." Julia prompts as your group hangs a left and begins to ascend the ridge, mottled earth slowly giving way to glassy, amethyst crystal as you ascend

"Even though we're a bit different, we're still finding ways to make it work." You continue, taking Julia's offer. "It’s scary, and sometimes I have no idea what I'm doing, but it’s…really nice to have someone that you can just chill with. I feel relaxed around her, I can just be myself, talk about stuff and not have to worry about being judged or scorned. Even for an hour, or a half hour, the rest of the world, the whole Crucible, just... vanishes. It's just the two of us, together."

You look ahead as you ascend the almost vertical surface, the wind whipping your hair back as a wry smile crosses your lips.

"So…yeah. I do miss her.”

You didn't expect your heart to ache so much at the words you just spoke. Deciding to ignore the tightening in your chest, you turn to ask Julia the same question about her fellow artist...

...but she's gone.

"Julia? Julia!" You scream, whirling around in your seat to catch sight of her, and your blood runs cold when you realize you're utterly alone. Julia, Rath, Amara, your swarm...gone.

You send out an panicked empathic pulse when the sheer cliff face ahead of you slides open without a sound, the wall moving out and enveloping you and hornet-steed whole as it sucks you into the unknown.

You tumble into the darkness, until...

(Continued)
>>
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>>3496812

Harsh neon lights explode into your eye sockets, causing you to wince away from their source.

Your body aches atop the over-sized hornet you roll off of, onto a sleek, perfectly white tiled floor. Looking around, you find yourself in a cell...or rather, something akin to a physician's office; cold, sterile, and blindingly white save for the web of slender black pipes that cross-cross the wall to your right. Opposite the mess of tubing running from floor to ceiling is a large mirror, and directly opposite you is a wall sporting a humanoid face, a single eye staring at you, one devoid of color or pupil.

>Salutations 'Nomenclature:Shu the Defiant' $

The calm, monotone voice echoes forth from the wall-face as you rise to your feet painfully.

>Initiating:PLEASANTRIES.wav $
>Please do not be alarmed, Shu the Defiant$
>The decontamination process will begin shortly $
>We understand you have been seeking the Disassociated Ones, Defiant $
>You have successfully located us/ Well done $
>Initiate: CONGRATULATIONS.exe $

A panel in the wall slides open to the left of the face, and from within the whirring machinery a small, mangled horn slides out from the churning gears along with a small cylinder. The bugle gives a single, meager toot at the same time the cylinder pops, showering the air in front of you with a handful of black-and-white confetti.

"My friends...where are they?" You demand, unamused.

>Do not be alarmed, Shu the Defiant $
>They are experiencing CONGRATULATIONS.exe at this very moment with my peers, in fact $
>After you and your contemporaries are decontaminated, you shall be reunited in our guest staging area for orientation $

This revelation comes as the horn and party-favor both disappear into the wall, the panel sliding back into place seamlessly. Glancing around the space, it becomes immediately apparent that this place is eminently unnerving in more ways than one...though there's one feature that stands out to you the most.

There's no biomass in sight.

>>"I need to speak with your superiors immediately. There's a threat coming your way, a group of Daughters called the Midnight Crew."

>>"Decontamination? What does that entail?"

>>"There's no biomass here...why is that?"

>>"Just...I don't mean to be rude, but what are you, exactly?"

>>"Let me the hell out of here, or I swear to god I'll tear this whole place apart with my bare fucking hands."

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
(Voting shall remain open for the next one and a half hours, Gentlemen.)
>>
>>3496815
>>"I need to speak with your superiors immediately. There's a threat coming your way, a group of Daughters called the Midnight Crew."

i feel like we can get our other questions out of the way once we make sure they know about the main reason we rushed here. i mean, if they knew we were coming they probably do, but it never hurts to make sure.
>>
>>3496815
>>"I need to speak with your superiors immediately. There's a threat coming your way, a group of Daughters called the Midnight Crew."
>"Though maybe you already knew that? You seem well-informed."

Well, this is rather more sterile than I was expecting. After November I was expecting them to be all rusty and worn, too, but I suppose it was silly to think that in their own isolated home they wouldn't be able to keep themselves properly maintained.
>>
>>3496815
>"Just...I don't mean to be rude, but what are you, exactly?"
>"I need to speak with your superiors immediately. There's a threat coming your way, a group of Daughters called the Midnight Crew."
>"They want to test you guys. See if you meet their standards of being 'worthy'."
>>
>>3496822
yeah it makes sense. the decontamination is a surprise, but i actually was expecting little to no biomass. considering what they are, they wouldn't need it, and more so, they probably are on the hit list id imagine for what they have done, so making sure mother has no method to spy on them via the fleshscape is probably a necessary precaution. if nothing else, it gives them a major home field advantage id imagine, though November made it seem like they still need SOME biomass and still retain some organic components and thus abilities, they still would be much less severely hindered in their combat prowess by said lack of bio than invaders would be.
>>
>>3496837
Oh, yeah, the lack of ambient biomass isn't a surprise. There's probably plenty inside the machines, though, just isolated and black-boxed. I'm just surprised by how clean the aesthetic is. I like it.
>>
>>3496851
Eh, im more of a rustic, homely aesthetic kinda guy myself, with more of a gearpunk/steampunk kinda chaotic look when it comes to more technological aesthetics. Smooth and crisp just feels plain to me, probably why alot of cyberpunk isnt my thing.

Im More impressed they manage to keep it so clean given the state of the world, so props to them for that.
>>
>>3496859
Smooth and shiny can be overdone, certainly. But it's a nice contrast against the usual aesthetic of this world, so I enjoy seeing it.
>>
>>3496815
>please don’t stuff me or my friends into those mech suits
>>
>>3496815
>"Decontamination? What does that entail?"
>>
>>3496868
Nah, we're safe. Magpie and Mara visited here before, remember? They're doing fine. And we're going to the guest rooms, not joining them. I think they're just really sarcophobic (which, really, who wouldn't be in this world?) and so they want to scrub us down very thoroughly before they let us in, just in case we track anything gross in with us.
>>
>>3496817
Oh goddammit. BHOP, did Julia hear the rest of Shu's talk about her relationship with Gina?
>>
>>3496983
(Yes, she did. It would have been cruel to cut that off too soon, so everyone got grabbed within a few seconds of each other.)
>>
>>3496815

"I need to speak with your superiors immediately. There's a threat coming your way, a group of Daughters called..."

>The 'Midnight Crew, yes $
>We are aware of their arrival, and rest assured they pose no threat to anyone present in this facility $

You're taken aback at the envoy's succinctness, though you admit to some measure of mixed relief and confusion.

"How can you be so sure?" You ask, and the wall's reply comes swiftly, without intonation.

>Because you are currently two thousand three hundred and seventy-six feet beneath the surface of the Fleshscape $
>Now, please remove your articles of clothing for individual decontamination and step forwards $

After some hesitation you comply, stripping off the dress Julia, Uzu, and Dorian specially tailored for you and folding it with utmost care. The moment it's out of your hands, a glass cylinder smoothly descends from the ceiling, enclosing you in a space that's pumped full of a foul-smelling cobalt gas that's sucked away just as quickly as it arrived. When the cylinder recedes into the ceiling, you find your swarmling encased in a similar, though larger glass tube, along with a small indentation next to the face that bears a simple set of surgical scrubs, surprisingly soft to the touch. You just finish cinching the waist when the face slips back into the wall's immaculate surface and, with the sound of massive, unseen gears grinding away, the wall in front of you slowly parts. A small form slams into your waist as Amara flings herself bodily into you, with Rath and Julia close behind and sporting a pair of relieved smiles on their respective faces.

"As you were told, Defiant." Comes a very human voice from the darkness beyond the decontamination chamber, and from within the haze of innumerable black-and-grey pipes that make up the passage ahead emerges a hovering form, vaguely humanoid and clearly more machine than Daughter. "I shall serve as your Guide. Please, follow me and do not deviate from the path."

The thrum of great, hidden machines vibrates through every surface, your bare feet on cold metal as you follow your guide through the freezing corridor, your friends close behind you as you adjust to the shock of warm, white tile to frigid, twisting metal. After a few minutes of walking along the unwelcoming monotony of cords, cables, and tubing the corridor flares out, and you find yourself in awe of the space that lies open before you. You hear Amara and Rath both gasp at the impossibly large expanse, featureless steel walls criss-crossed with bridges hanging over a gap several hundred feet deep, with no bottom in sight. Figures can be seen shuffling and hovering along the pathways ahead, and your Guide rotates to face you, their delicate features overrun with their fair share of wires and brushed plating.

(Continued)
>>
>>3496877
>>3496859
>>3496826

>Those file image names
>(No, this is a dream, it's)
>(This can't be happening, why is this...)
HOLD THE PHONE. ISABELLE'S HAVING A BLEEDOVER EPISODE
>>
>>3497038
Hah, you're totally right. Oh, this is too good. Please let her time sharing our sense-stream last long enough for her to here us ask the Disassociated if there's any way to cut her out of our lives completely.
>>
>>3497031
So are we in NORAD? Elder Uzu did say that the Cord was in Colorado. There's no reason the Disassociated couldn't have made their own underground bunker, but when you've got one standing by already, might as well use it.
>>
>>3497044
>cutting off the stream as soon as she discovered the bleedover.
Anon. I feel like not exploiting it by communicating with B'ni via Bleedover is a missed opportunity. It's also a good way to play merry hell with her morality and her purpose. Just the fact that we acknowledge her presence via bleedover is enough to spook her. Furthermore I kinda want to get her consent from this.
>>
>>3497031

"This is the Unfettered Sanctuary, the hub of our research and development." The Guide explains, eyes closed and features passive as she speaks. "Before we proceed further, what is the nature of your visit to our organization, Defiant One?"

"Well, since you know about the Midnight Crew, there's this other matter that I've been..."

"She's got a bitch out there that's been brain-jacking her at random, and we need that shit to stop." Rath interrupts, and a roil of anger rises within you, disappearing as quickly as it came with a curious unease following in its wake.

"Empathic Contamination. Yes, we have dealt with that before." The Guide replies flatly. "Please explain the nature of the contamination."

You glance towards Rath, and from her disgruntled face you can tell she's beating herself up for her earlier interruption. After shooting Rath a wink to hopefully ease her self-chastising, you turn to the Guide to explain.

"There's this girl I was traveling with, named...B'ni." You begin, feeling your stomach start to twist into uncomfortable knots as you continue. "We parted ways a few days ago, but I've started having these...visions, I guess, where I'm seeing things through her eyes and I think I can influence what she's doing, to some extent."

"I see." The Guide replies coldly. "How long were the two of you in each others' company?"

You consider how to reply as a ball of cold tension forms in the pit of your stomach.

>>"I'd been awake only about two days before I found the girl I'm tied to, and we were together about two weeks before we parted ways....that was a few days ago, like I said."

>>"All told...she was by my side protecting my Chrysalis for about two years, though I obviously wasn't aware of that at the time."

>>"...Oh god. How long has this been going on?"

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
>>3497051
Oh, I don't necessarily want to cut it off, I just want Isabelle to hear Shu reject her in yet another way.
>>
(Gentlemen, I shall be pausing here for the evening, as it seems like a good break point now that you've caught on. Voting shall remain open for the next eleven hours, with posting to resume in roughly thirteen from now. Thank you all for your continued participation and enthusiasm, and I shall be around for a little bit longer this evening to address any questions, concerns, and criticisms. I hope you have a restful evening, and take care.)
>>
>>3497054
>>"All told...she was by my side protecting my Chrysalis for about two years, though I obviously wasn't aware of that at the time."

And it looks like she has heard it! Yes. Marvelous.
>>
>>3497063
Thanks for running, BHOP. See you tomorrow.
>>
>>3497054
>>"All told...she was by my side protecting my Chrysalis for about two years, though I obviously wasn't aware of that at the time."
>>"but, I'd been awake only about two days before I found the girl I'm tied to, and we were together about two weeks before we parted ways....that was a few days ago, like I said."

>>3497063
thanks for running.
>>
>>3497051
and on this, i hardly care. she can deal with watching us go out of our way to reject her and cut the connection, and cut the connection is certainly what i hope to have done.
>>
>>3497054
>"Oh god... is B'ni having a bleedover episode right now?
>*Hold up a hand*
>Spawn a spare arm.
>"Isabelle. Are you having a bleedover episode right now? thumbs up for yes, Thumbs down for no."
>*Let B'ni take control of one of your spare arm and let her reply. if possible.*
>*Open up that empathy connection as far as possible, try and seek out B'ni via empathy and open up the connection*
>"Do you want this connection between us cut?"
>"Guide, can you give us a piece of paper or a pen to write with?"
>"Julia, Can you spare me a sheet of skin?"
>"Isabelle, I thought you wanted out in our relationship after you ran out on us. And that you wanted to make your 'ideal Shu' by ascending the Cord." say it both aloud and via empathy connection."
>>
>>3497095
Actually, I just realized it's even worse for B'Ni. Now that I know to look at the file names, I noticed that her bleed-over vision started all the way back at >>3496348. She didn't just hear Shu say that she wanted to remove the link, she heard all those things Shu said about how much Gina means to her. Oh god, this is the best.

>>3497106
I don't think it works that way. And if it does, do you really want to give B'Ni access to a hand right after hearing all that? She's just going to start strangling.
>>
>>3497118
haha, you're right. yeah, BHOP actually uses image names, good lad, but its a hard thing to remember to look at.

>>3497106
SPECIFICALLY, im am HIGHLY AGAINST, isabelle ever having ANY control over our form, that being my main issue with what we have been told this could entail.
>>
>>3497118
>>3497095
Vindictive little shits aren't you? You do realize our actions will simply cement B'ni as the final villain of the quest.
>>
>>3497095
>>3497118
On second thought I retract my statement here >>3497126
>>
>>3497126
She's already heard us say these things, anon. The damage is done. I wouldn't vote for Shu to actively try to hurt B'Ni's feelings. Shu isn't that cruel, and as you say it would be counterproductive to keeping B'Ni sane. But since I don't have an option in this anyway, I can freely appreciate the pathos of Isabelle getting a peek into Shu's mind and seeing her being happy with Gina.

That said, I can see the logic in trying to communicate with B'Ni this way. Not try to let her communicate back, but we can say things to her.
>>
>>3497143
Oh, you know what, we could ask the Guide if there's any way to make the communication two-way safely. Less risky than just trying to hand over an arm to B'Ni, but still shows to her that we want to talk and aren't just rejecting her out of hand.
>>
>>3497126
>Vindictive little shits aren't you?
well, if thats the wording you want to use, i wont hold back either.

actually, i posted a long winded explanation at BHOPs request at the end of the last thread about my thoughts an isabelle, but ill say them again.

i do not care because she is not worth our time. everyone is in control of their own actions, ans she chose to lie and manipulate us, then act selfishly and with utter obvious self delusions.

she very much knew how sam was to some degree, and even after figuring it out and taking a lamp to her head, continued to only care about sam. she was not defending US, Shu, for two years, she was defending SAM. a person she knew was both a terrible person and did not care about her.

and then when she learned we were someone new, and someone not so bad, even nice, she took a page out of Sams book and in many ways acted just like her to us. and then, in the end when we discovered it? she proved there was no real love there either, only lust after an idealized image we never had hope to live up to. yet we and our group still tried to reconcile with her, we wanted to make it work in some way between us.

and she almost murdered us then refused to see us as anything but the worst version of a ghost she herself was imitating. she not just let go of, but spat in the face of everyone in our group and then walked away.

she is not worth our time. she is not worth nor deserves, a third+ chance, for us to break ourselves over worrying about her. yes she is a problem to deal with, but nothing else. she had more than a second chance, and she threw them all away, and treated not just us, but everyone in our party at the time like dirt.

and yet still all i want, is for her not the be a threat to us, not to be able to use us as a vessel to harm who we care about. all i want is to be able to ignore her more to focus on more important threats and goals. if that makes me vindictive, then im happily, unapologetically vindictive, and she deserves every ounce of it. also i probably worded this better the last time i wrote it.

as i stated then, i stand by now: Shu and company protect and help the weak and the good. Isabelle was never either of those things.
>>
>>3497106
>>3497054
Amending my vote
>"She was by my side for two years while I was in my Chrysalis. I wasn't aware of that at the time."
>"The bleedover episodes started happening 3 days ago, first with me peeking into her view point and....
>"Isabelle's having a bleedover episode right now isn't she?
>I'm getting a feeling that Her bleedover episode began just after we met the midnight crew? If the roiling emotions that I'm feeling controlled by Isabelle, are that of shock and horror... then I guess my hunch is correct. She's having a bleedover episode right now. She can hear and see through my eyes."
>>3497152
Good idea.
>"Guide, is there a way to make the empathetic contamination a safe two-way connection or is it uncontrollable?"
>"I want to talk to Isabelle through this connection."
>>
>>3497153
Very much agreed, but I think that Shu wouldn't want to leave it at just "screw you, you're awful, I'm not giving you a third chance". It's more in-character for Shu to try to soften the blow, at least a bit, she's just nice like that. So something like "I'm sorry, B'Ni, I know this is going to hurt you. But let's be honest, you don't want to be in my head like this. You're just getting upset because you see it as another rejection. And that's not fair to me. I tried to be a friend to you, you're the one who left because you wanted something I couldn't give you. I can't be responsible for your happiness, Isabelle, certainly not if you're going to act like that. So don't think of this as a rejection, think of it as...finishing the job for you. You wanted to leave, well here you go."

Or something like that, that was just off the cuff and needs more editing. We've got some time before we actually say something like that to her, I can revise it. You get my point, though, Shu would want to give some last words. For her own sake, if nothing else, it's important to Shu that she not leave the guilt about B'Ni hanging over her and I think getting to say her piece will help with that.
>>
>>3497183
>>3497183
So don't think of this as a rejection, think of it as...finishing the job for you.
How about
>"Please. Don't take this as a rejection. Think of this as... as a goodbye of sorts."
>>
>>3497183
(Out getting food)
Actually anon you worded how id been trying to think of how to explain things IC very well, thank you.

Another point is, i dont think its unfair to say IC Shu wouldn't and shouldn't risk keeping the connection with a volatile traitor who could and very well might use her agaisnt her allies, or even the connection in general. Kinda unfair to make them who stayed loyal and she cares about shoulder that risk, regardless of if they would be ok with it. That and suddenly body swapping with anyone at random intervals sounds like a bad idea.
>>
Jesus, she heard us the whole time. And I'm the guy who wrote the response to Julia, too. BHOP is really good at springing things on us while giving us really subtle clues, I'll need to be more careful.

>>3497183
This is good. I've got an addition to make, something from our most recent Isabelle POV.

"You were right, Isabelle. Whatever it was that we had, you deserve better than that."
>>
I feel like if we ARE going to talk to her, we should say something about how we aren't sam. Doesn't have to be vindictive or anything, its more i feel Shu deserves to get to draw that line.

Maybe something like
"Sams a ghost, we both know that, you saw to making sure that was true. Im Shu, whether you can accept that or not, its who i am, and who ill always be."
>>
>>3497359
>>3497333
>>3497218
>>3497183
I know it sounds very harebrained, but I wonder if it's possible to hold an actual conversation with Isabelle through the bleedover bond since we can catch snippets of her thoughts via BHOP's image filenames and the fact that Isabelle can respond via emotional bleedover into our emotions and what snippets of thoughts that we can catch from BHOP's image filenames.
>>
>>3497054
>>"All told...she was by my side protecting my Chrysalis for about two years, though I obviously wasn't aware of that at the time."
>"Actually... I think she's here right now. It doesn't feel like she's happy about this. Is there a way she can talk, or can she just listen? I want the link gone, but she deserves to say whatever she has to say first. "

Changing my vote just a little, before heading to bed. Just to add the stuff about communicating with her. Anyways, good night, thread.
>>
>>3497106
>>3497054
Supporting this.
>>
>>3497054
>>3497429
I know some people my want to give up on b'ni, but I feel so sorry for her. I want to heal her, not have her be the final villain...
>>
>>3497054
Just got up.
Supporting >>3497106
>>3497153

I'm on the healing side and there's some things I want to say to her to that end.
I also want to ask some things about the separation process even if we don't go through with it, like if it's possible to block it just to prevent it happening during combat. There is some kind of mental/physical difference between being in combat and out of it, and I think B'ni might agree for this one at least.
>>
>>3497054
Supporting >>3497106

Also on healing side, but would probably support cutting the link if she asked us to.
>>
>>3497106
yeah, I suppose we might as well try this.

also, I'm really glad to see how prepared the Disassociated Ones are, seems if there is anyone that can help us kick mothers ass out of our planet it'd be these folks.
>>
Grah, please at least support the amendment to ask if talking to her can be done safely. This is just way too obvious and unnecessary a risk to be taking.
>>
>>3497708
Seriously though, the midnight crew deserves more sympathy than Isabelle does, and we clearly aren't planning to waste time saving them.
>>
>>3497163
I prefer your idea over cutting it, Shu is hopelessly optimistic regarding people even if we have no choice other than fighting them.
This way we let her know we still are willing to give her a chance, we potentially make it controllable (and give us something akin to the crimson cord, the thing she was jealous of) and we can gain intel if possible, which is more important for us than for Bni.
However i also like >>3497106 idea
of trying to speak to her since we have the chance.
>>
>>3497760
Also if we do look down at our arm we still should have her pendant on right?
>>
>>3497765
(Shu is still wearing the scarab pendant, yes.)
>>
I'm going to be away for some time and I think the updates will be resuming in about an hour or so, so I'm posting what I want to say to B'ni now in case the update establishes a way to communicate.

>”Isabelle, I really wish things fell apart as they did between us. And I want to mend our relationship. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have kept this.”
>Bring the pendant in your line of sight.
>”I wasn’t the only one hurt when you left. Gina has regrets, Rath is intent on telling you how she feels with her fists, and I’m sad that you couldn’t be there for when Amara’s chrysalis hatched. You were with us when we found it, so I would’ve liked you to meet her, and I think she would be happy to meet you. Julia likely enjoyed your presence too, and we’ve made new friends like Dorian as well.”
>”If it’s not presumptuous of me to say, Isabelle, I think despite what anyone else might say, you’re hurting too. You’ve been hurting for a long time from struggle, loneliness, heartbreak, and desperation, and no one was there to help you for years.”
>”Now I don’t know why Sam did what she did, and I’m kind of afraid to locate her in my psyche to find out. But I’m willing to take that dive for you. To get some closure for… everyone.”
>”More importantly, I want to help you like you helped me, without the lies and manipulations for either of us. I’m not going to promise you unconditional love, but I do want you to be loved. If you’re willing to try, I want to give it another shot, without all the baggage from our previous lives.”
>”But if you really want to cut all ties and for us to move on separately, then the next time I see you, I’ll be giving this back to you, even if I’d rather not part with it.”
>”In either case, I hope we don’t meet or part as enemies, or that you do something that forces me to consider you my enemy. I have my limits, Isabelle, as I’m sure you did too.”
>”Just… please stay safe, at least.”

Just putting stuff I want to tell her out there, and you can all trim or add to it as you wish if you want to use it. I’m trying to be moderate in some parts. And regarding the part about doing things that would make her our enemy, you can trim that part since again I put it in to be more moderate of how we treat her. I’d consider the line crossed if she killed one of our friends or destroyed friendly groups, which is what the Midnight Crew are threatening to do even if their motives for turning out the way they did may be better than B’ni’s. And I’m not counting Mara in this because she’s the one going after B’ni in order to use her as meat cattle for everyone’s hunger, and I can’t fault self-defense in that case.

And I'm also with not cutting it, for>>3497760 reasons among others.
>>
>>3497639
Isabelle has shown herself to have a grudgeful side. She might very well be more than happy to try and interrupt us at important moments like combat.

She literally in our last bleedover tortured someone heavily she never actually met over teasing her over her past better relationship with someone Isabelle now admits to hating. Isabelle is nearly if not fully driven by emotion, and thats stupidly dangerous, as you cant reason with that.
>>
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>>3497769
Supporting this and not cutting her off

>>3497791
You're acting as if she was waterboarding an innocent. Yes Isabelle is broken but I dont think she's beyond redemption. Hell we talked with other people and tried to help them when they have been way more aggressive towards us, but you are afraid of isabelle because of a little bleedover from her? We reasoned with the sororitas amalgam, with julia when she was the angel in the flesh. Others would've immediately gone on the offensive. So why do we antagonize B'ni again? Shu is better than this.
>>
>>3497805
With both the soritas and julia they were not imediatly hostile, nor had they been given any chances.

Isabelle had numerous and threw them all aside and spar in our face over it in the end.

And its not just 'a little bleedover' we have been told we and her could eventually outright control the others actions. Thats longterm potentially deadly as fuck.
>>
>>3497807
That's why i'm voting for trying to get the bleed over more under control.
Isabelle has numerous issues regarding stuff we couldn't remember, the more we talk to her the more we can help her, hell the little we've seen on her end shows us that she HAS taken some of our word to heart.
She wasn't hostile until her delusions of our character were challenged, and even then only harm she has done to us is Lying about our troubled past (which is a source of her trauma).
If you genuinely dislike her and are bitter about her actions, that's perfectly fine, however i think that IC'ly Shu would be willing to give her another chance.
>>
I wake up lethargic to find out that the Isabelle war is now a thing.
>>
>>3497823
I mean we are on the eve of an important decision that will decide our policy regarding her, naturally anons (including me) are coming out of the woodwork to voice their opinion and debate.

At least it isn't a waifu war
>>
>>3497807
Well... some of it is our fault though. we really haven't been the sort that tried to get her to open up. We just kinda shut her down with all of those lectures and talks. We never really got to know her. And Isabelle on her end was trying to be the submissive and "dogged nice girl". So the bridge between Isabelle and Shu/Sam were being burnt on both ends
>>
>>3497820
Ive said my piece on why its wholly IC for shu to cut the connection. She has other people shes putting in danger keeping it, people she cares about and at least one who Isabelle might be openly hostile too, aswell as other issues related to any such uncontrollable effect she wouldn't and has no right to force them to worry over.

Note i begrudgingly agree IC she wouldn't hate Isabelle or anything, merely i disagree she would keep the connection due to its very high risks even if Isabelle wasnt a very potential enemy
>>
>>3497829
We're not blameless but Isabelle outright gave us very good reasons for those lectures while actively trying to suppress any reason for us to talk to her otherwise. Dont get me wrong i agree we messed up and have some blame, but hardly enough to feel any guilt over given what and who Isabelle is.
>>
I've never really voiced out my opinion on the whole Bleedover link between Shu and Isabelle and whether or not to cut it but I realized that my opinion also matters. What my vote up there's objective is not to try and stall out the surgery, it's to let both parties (Isabelle and Shu) to come to an understanding on why this is happening and why Shu is opting for the surgery.
Personally I cannot confirm nor deny my wishes to have the surgery because of how polarizing it is when it comes to the pros and cons. I can agree on the reason for having the surgery, but I cannot agree on the fact that it's a one-sided agreement now that Isabelle's witnessing the lead-up to the surgery due to the bleedover.

I kinda wanna spin the conversation into a persuasive argument in convincing B'ni that Shu's cutting the connection for better of the two of them. B'ni's under the impression that Sam's old personality has taken over after we discovered the lamp murder part of Shu's past. Rather than cutting it outright by continuing the talk as if she wasn't there, she gets to have a voice in this. After all, she's invested 2+ years into protecting Sam's pod which creating the bleed over connection. The surgery might affect Isabelle on her end.

On that end, I think Isabelle's reason for the lying is because she had a legitimate fear that we would immediately reject her because she murdered Sam in the past and that the old personality (an alpha bitch in sheep's clothing) would rear its ugly head once again. Considering that Sam was able to keep the wool pulled over Isabelle's eyes for 10+ years of their friendship, Isabelle didn't want to take any chances of falling for Sam's sweet/bitch personality again. Thus the resort to taking a page out of Sam's book.

>>3497832
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>>3497054

"She was by my side for two years while I was in my Chrysalis. I wasn't aware of that at the time. The bleedover episodes started happening 3 days ago, first with me peeking into her view point and...” Your explanation trails off as a slow realization dawns on you.

"Isabelle's having a bleedover episode right now isn't she?” You say aloud, and you can feel something tug at your very core, a mutual understanding. It’s the first time you’ve been tethered like this, with both of you fully aware.

“I'm getting a feeling that her bleedover episode began just after we met the midnight crew? If the roiling emotions that I'm feeling, the shock and horror...if that’s from her, then I guess my hunch is correct. She's having a bleedover episode right now. She can hear and see through my eyes." You say, looking to your allies as you speak. Concern is clear on their faces, with Rath’s ears flushed scarlet with rage at the unwelcome intrusion. You turn to the Daughter-machine hybrid that hovers just ahead of you.

"Guide, is there a way to make the empathetic contamination a safe two-way connection or is it uncontrollable? I want to talk to Isabelle through this connection." You ask, waiting for a reply as something within the weightless torso whirs and hums.

“If the connection is mutual, the two-way mental communication is quite possible…” She replies coolly. “…if both ends are willing, of course.”

Turning to your friends, Julia gives you a nod, her delicate fingers clasped in front of her. Amara’s giving you an enthusiastic thumb’s up, despite having precisely zero context for what’s going on.

“Do it, man. Just be careful.”

Rath’s statement catches you off-guard, and as you study her citrine eyes you can tell she trusts your judgment, despite her reservations about your old friend. You give her an appreciative smile, sitting down with your legs crossed, eyes closed as you begin to speak aloud.

”Isabelle, I really wish things hadn’t fallen apart as they did between us, and I want to mend our relationship. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have kept this.” You begin, pulling the pendant out from your scrubs. The Guide is about to say something about the presence of a personal item when Amara shushes her loudly, and to your surprise she holds her steely tongue. ”I wasn’t the only one hurt when you left. Gina has regrets, Rath is intent on telling you how she feels with her fists, and I’m sad that you couldn’t be there for when Amara’s chrysalis hatched. You were with us when we found it, so I would’ve liked you to meet her, and I think she would be happy to meet you. Julia likely enjoyed your presence too, and we’ve made new friends like Dorian as well.”

Silence greets you on the other end of your tether, and in the face of it, you press on.

(Continued)
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>>3497842

”If it’s not presumptuous of me to say, Isabelle, I think despite what anyone else might say, you’re hurting too. You’ve been hurting for a long time from struggle, loneliness, heartbreak, and desperation, and no one was there to help you for years. Now I don’t know why Sam did what she did, and I’m kind of afraid to locate her in my psyche to find out. But I’m willing to take that dive for you. To get some closure for…everyone.”

Silence, and then…

“…Okay.”

B’ni’s voice echoes in your mind, the darkness at the back of your eyelids splashed with emerald at her cautious reply. You continue slowly, feeling her open the connection just a hair, curiosity and fear blending together into a torrent of emotion that you struggle to communicate through.

”More importantly, I want to help you like you helped me, without the lies and manipulations for either of us. I’m not going to promise you unconditional love, but I do want you to be loved.” You say, and the moment the words leave your lips you feel your heart tighten, hot tears starting to stream down your face as you fight to keep your tone level in the face of the confused anger that erupts in your chest. “If you’re willing to try, I want to give it another shot, without all the baggage from our previous...”

“I don’t…I don’t know what that *means*!” She yells, her miserable scream of confusion echoing in your mind. “I…I was special, Sam. I was the only one for so, so long, and now…everyone loves you, and you love everyone. There’s no room for me in that, Sam.”

“Yes, Isabelle, there is!” You plead, emotion boiling over as she fires back.

“No!” She roars, any reluctance she had to speak to you gone in the face of her roiling fury, borne of sadness. “No, there’s not! Things are too….they’re so…different, now! I want things back the way they were before all this, before I found out about how you really felt, and…I just…”

“I was happy. For just a little while…I was so happy.” Isabelle says as you wipe her tears from your face. “I just want that back…why can’t I have that back, Shu?”

>>”B’ni...you have to know that Sam wasn’t sincere. None of that was real, Isabelle…but what I’m offering is.”

>>”We don’t get to choose what stays and what fades away, B’ni. We can only choose what we move towards.”

>>”Tell me what you want me to say, Isabelle. You’re asking me to give you something back that didn’t exist in the first place…and I know you deserve better.”

>>”…I love you, Isabelle. I want you to be safe, to be back with us. Rath wants to see you again, despite her anger. Amara deserves to meet you, and I know Gina misses you just as much as I do.”

>>Write-In

YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>
Gentlemen, it is time to say our piece. What are we writing, and what are we trying to achieve?
Reminder: B'ni is in emotional turmoil and stated that Shu to be solely committed to Isabelle.
>>
>>3497843
>"You’re asking me to give you something back that didn’t exist in the first place…"
>"you have to know that Sam wasn’t sincere. None of that was real, Isabelle…but what I’m offering is.”
>”We don’t get to choose what stays and what fades away, B’ni. We can only choose what we move towards.”
>>
(Voting shall remain open for the next hour and a half, Gentlemen.)
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>>3497839
None of that justifies Isabelles actions nor makes her any less a terrible person for doing them.
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>>3497852
actually, add in;
>"B'ni...why does it have to be me that loves you like that? Why do you think you have to create someone in order to have that?"
>"You can move on B'ni...you can find someone new, someone different. You in your own way are amazing, if you just gave it a chance, maybe you could find someone out there who can return what you feel. Why do you think it has to be me? Im not Sam, who we both know lead you on, Im Shu, but who you love, who you allow yourself to get close to, doesn't have to be a Shu. Or a Sam. Neither one of us is someone so special as to throw everything away over keeping."
>>
Anon who made the write-in here. I've got an Internet connection for now. This is definetly a choose your words carefully situation.
>>3497843
>"I don't know if Sam was never sincere or if she changed later. But that doesn't matter anymore. *I'm* sincere, B'ni. You're... you're my first friend. You saved my life, kept me company, made me feel a bit safer in a fleshworld hellscape I knew nothing about. And I also miss those days of just travelling around, raiding abandoned stores, playing Kiss or Slap, not having some greater goal."
>"I'm thankful for all of that. And I love you not because of who you pretended you were, but because you were by my side."
>"But I'm betting that's not enough to convince you to come back yet, so I have a favor to ask you. If you're willing to keep this link, use it to tell me about yourself whenever it comes up. Tell me about the real you, about stories from before, your family, whatever you want. Show me who you are little by little until we meet again one day, and then give me your answer."
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>>3497912
Oh this. This I support. I support the hell out of this.
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>>3497911
>>3497912
Goddamit both of these are too good, i don't care which wins

Pic related is my initial reaction to bhops post
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>>3497920
>>3497923
Sorry about my deleted vote.
Let me repost that. But keep in mind that I'm also for supporting >>3497912

>>3497843

>"Because those days have come and gone. But they aren't gone forever. They can be achieved without using the Cord. They can be achieved by simply giving it another shot and opening up to people you know and love."
>”…I love you, Isabelle. I want you to be safe, to be back surrounded by friends you know and love to be with. Rath wants to see you again, despite her anger. Amara deserves to meet you, and I know Gina misses you just as much as I do. We can be a family.”
>"If what I said isn't enough to convince you to come back yet, Then I have a favor to ask you. Please keep this link, use it to tell me about yourself whenever it comes up or when you're feeling lonely. Tell me about the real you, about stories from before, your family, whatever you want. Show me who you are little by little until we meet again one day, and then give me your answer."
>"If you somehow still can't find the courage to give this another shot... then...You can move on B'ni...you can find someone new, someone different. You in your own way are amazing, if you just gave it a chance, maybe you could find someone out there who can return what you feel. As long as you're safe and happy with that special someone you can open up to."
>"
If Isabelle doesn't take that second chance:
>"Isabelle. I happy that we've had this talk and be able to move on. I want to let you know one more time... that I...that...I've always treasured our time together."
>try to contain sadness, fail
>"Goodbye...Isabelle.
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>>3497843
>>3497935
Amending to add an additional statement:
>"You don't deserve to be cold and lonely, with a Quack Doctor and a Dragoon hounding your feet. You deserve better."
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>>3497935
Aw cheers mate, and yeah that's understandable
>>
(Writing now, Gentlemen. It's going to take a little while due to work and certain events that were just triggered, so thank you for your patience.)
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>>3497941
>certain events that were just triggered
oh no.
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>>3497941
Oh, damn, I missed most of the voting period because my morning was hectic and now it's ended while I was writing up my entry. Damn it.

Oh well. I hope things aren't too hectic for you, BHOP.
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>>3497941
Oh boy, well that is ominous.

Hope work goes well BHOP!
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>>3497941
SWEATING PROFUSELY
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>>3497949
>>3497946
>certain events
Do you think it's the Midnight Crew? Or is it because Mara found Isabelle?
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>>3497949
I dunno why, but im suddenly dreading us outright swapping bodies for longer than these usually last...
Though im probably wrong. Very wrong.

...right?
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>>3497960
His wording implies something we said to her is what probably was the trigger, so id imagine not those.
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>>3497963
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>>3497843

"I don't know if Sam was ever sincere or if she changed later. But that doesn't matter anymore. *I'm* sincere, B'ni. You're... you're my first friend. You saved my life, kept me company, made me feel a bit safer in a fleshworld hellscape I knew nothing about.” You say, continuing with a gentle laugh. “You know what? I miss those days of just travelling around, raiding abandoned stores, playing Kiss or Slap. Not having some greater goal. Just…existing."

"I'm so thankful for all of that. And I love you not because of who you pretended you were, but because you were by my side." You say honestly. “But I'm betting that's not enough to convince you to come back yet, so I have a favor to ask you. If you're willing to keep this link, use it to tell me about yourself whenever it comes up. Tell me about the real you, about stories from before, your family, whatever you want. Show me who you are little by little until we meet again one day, and then give me your answer."

“What makes her so special?” Isabelle asks softly, a sad pulse of amethyst filling your vision. “I heard what you said, about Gina being your ace in the hole, about taking over the Cord without having to win the Crucible. I can’t even tell if what you feel for each other is real, or if you’re just using her for her powers like you used…no.”

You head shakes a fraction, a mirror of her own motion an unknown number of miles away.

“No…it’s real. So, so real. God…shit, I can feel it, I’m fucking *drowning* in it. Her feelings for you, yours for…” She trails off, the lump that’s growing in her throat. “…it’s what I feel. It’s so real it hurts, Shu.”

Your arm moves on its own, wiping the tears that are streaming down your cheeks and hers.

“I…I *need* this. I deserve something, something for the years I spent, wondering, crying, hoping for you to…I don’t know.” She starts to sob, balling your fists against your knees. “If I don’t have this, I…it’s all over. If I can’t have that, it’s…oh god, it was all for nothing, isn’t it? Everything I sacrificed, everything I worked for, it’ll all be pointless if someone else gets to profit from all the years I spent on…Fuck, you just don’t get it, do you?! You don’t understand Shu, I…I can’t sleep, I can’t…it hurts so much, I don’t know what to…”

“Aw, a lover’s spat, Darling~?”

(Continued)
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>>3498010

You don’t have to turn around from where you sit underneath the glade at the far end of Carroll’s Forest to know who’s behind you. You open your emerald eyes, tears swimming across your vision as you gaze at the city in the distance, undulating shapes winding their way across the skyline. Rising, you smooth out Gretchen’s plundered dress as the click of heels on the solid fleshscape announce West’s approach.

“Tell your…friends? Ex-friends? Enemies? Associates? Ah, that works.” The Doctor prattles as you rise to your feet. “Tell your associates I said ‘Hello~’”

You quietly wipe the wetness from your eyes as you stare across the vista, your throat tight, heart hammering in your chest as the physician comes to a stop directly behind you, continuing her nonsense as you try your best to tune her out.

You’re so, so tired...

“They’re just arrived at the Disassociated doorstep, according to my inside woman. I also heard you mention that they’ve read my notes, which I must say is very exciting. You know, I was going to tell you about the developing one’s curious resilience since having her powers would be quite the boon to you, wouldn’t it?” She chitters, and you can practically hear her lips creak into a leering smile as you sniffle. “Goodness, imagine! With your regeneration and her manipulative tendencies, you’d be unstoppable! The Cord would be your plaything, my dear! Imagine what you could do with that!”

The fingers of your right hand twitch, your throat dry as you painfully swallow. You turn around, staring into the forest’s depths just past the woman that looms over you. She leans down, hands folded studiously behind her back as she cocks her head in curiosity.

“If you don’t want to, that’s perfectly fine~! Completely understandable, in fact!” She smiles, saccharine sweet tone oozing into your ears. “Tell you what, they’re not too far away! As a show of friendship, I can go ahead and harvest them myself, if you don’t want to!”

Your eyes snap to hers, electric blue orbs boring into your emerald pupils.

“When I have Gina’s powers in hand, along with the little Vitruvian’s skillset and the Defiant’s curiously potent empathic field, then we can…”

West stops abruptly when your fist caves in her skull.

(Continued)
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>>3498011
AW SHIT NIGGA
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>>3498011
What happened to "I've already got like three dozen different skills, I'm not interested in yours", West? Gina's got the unique Neurotic Halo, so fine, and I can see you being interested in Shu's empathy field. So fine, I can see that being updated information since the last time you met them. But you want Rath now? Something get you spooked and wanting more damage resistance powers?
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>>3498039
>>3498031
>“They’re just arrived at the Disassociated doorstep, according to my inside woman."
>inside woman
THE QUACK HAS ASSOCIATES
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>>3498039
(Indeed.)
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>>3498039
She must've seen something in the forest that spooked her when she dived deep. Something that told her that if she needs to survive, she'll need to specialize and start consuming people again.
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>>3498041
Of course, proper science requires collaboration. Personally, I'm thinking it's one of the Daughters from the Monastery who left for the Disassociated. There's something about how West said that she had a "vanguard" waiting at the Cord feeding her information that makes me think she was somehow connected to Elder Uzu's death.
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>>3498057
You know, Wests ability to leave a part of her mind in a relic and Elder Uzu's death may have more in common than meets the eye.
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>>3498061
>Inside woman
Do you think West has been secretly implanting copies of her own ego into constructs/relics?
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>>3498061
Maybe. Some sort of usurpation power like Gina has, hijacking the construct Uzu's mind-state was occupying in order to rip the knowledge from her. All it would take is an associate of hers to bring in a Relic designed to house a more detailed fork of West than she has in the typical Relics she makes.
>>
Well, this is certainly something. Guess B'ni still has some care for us left. Wether this ends well for her or not though...

Also not surprised west has associates, nor that she would take out elder uzu(potentially). Im only curious if these are people she has tricked, who simply want to use her back, or outright idiots who actually trust her and her billions of years long plan.
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>>3498067
Well the Trigger point was 'Defiant'
Also, Depending on how BHOP writes out this next update, we may be in for a base race with B'ni vs Dr. West.
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>>3498011

Blood and cerebral fluid splatter your face when your knuckles cave in nose and annihilate her face, shattering coy smile and brain pan both. Her body rag-dolls midair as she’s sent hurtling back into the calcite tree behind her, the resounding crack of trunk and torso blending into a singularly satisfying crunch. You watch the body slide down to the base and collapse in a tangle of limbs, and after drawing in a long, rattling breath, you just walk away.

“Hahahaaaa…did I strike I nerve, Darling~?”

You’re disappointed but not terribly surprised when you turn back around to see arcs of azure lightning dance from West’s body to the skin-earth around her, marring the earth with impossibly intense heat.

“I must admit that I’ve miscalculated my chances of surviving the Cord to its summit, as my recent tests indicate.” She crows with a screeching tone, like shards of glass raking against each other. Her face is shattered, quite literally; the way her features slowly piece themselves back together resembles hardened plates of mercury oozing into one another, a small trickle of grey matter running down her eyes and across her mouth from the countless cracks in her brainpan. A furtive tongue darts across her lips as she makes a move to adjust her glasses, finding empty air where they once rested across the broken bridge of her nose. “Ah, well…I’ve come to consider one last resource-gathering phase unfortunately necessary, before I’m ready to make my move…”

Emotionless blue orbs lock on your face.

“…Though I wouldn’t need it if you’d have just behaved.” She murmurs, her regenerating visage devoid of expression. Your hands ball into fists, and your legs start to carry you forwards of their own accord as West just cackles. “You intend to end me, then? Fascinating~! Very well, Vitruvian…”

Electricity flares as she rises from the ground, hovering a full meter above the fleshscape below her as West's limbs arc with azure light, the skin blistering and cracking with untold power.

“…let the experiment begin~”

You just keep advancing as her lips split with an impossibly wide grin.

You don’t know why you’re doing this. You don’t know why what she said pulled a trigger in your heart, but you know one thing for certain…

…you’ve had enough of this bitch.

B’ni the Brokenhearted

VS.

DOCTOR WEST, THE RADIANT MIND

HP: 2100% (HEALTH REGEN: 700%/Turn)
BIO: 1560% (BIO REGEN: NULLIFIED)
ACT: 6/6
Abilities (NEW SKILL ACQUIRED): https://pastebin.com/Rvd3eWwi

Threat: Monstrous, Medium range.

YOU ARE FIgHtiiinG foR

yOU Ar

You.



YOU WILL HAVE CONTROL
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>>3498076
BHOP, I don't see any new abilities acquired.
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>>3498076
Wait, B'Ni got another 300% Health and 200%/turn regen just from eating one Daughter? Damn, I know she's got a health-focused build and she got all those levels to herself, but still. Wow.
>>
(Gentlemen, voting shall remain open for the next two hours.)

>>3498090
(Updated now, my apologies.)

>>3498094
(Gretchen was worth quite a few levels, and aside from Bni's new power she funneled them all into health.)
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>>3498090
>RESSENTIMENT’S MIRROR (Lvl 1 Phantasmal Conduit Hybrid): A manifestation of Gretchen’s twisted vanity, Ressentiment’s Mirror allows you to have two separate bodies active at once at the cost of ½ of your current BIO, with both sharing your HEALTH and BIO POOLS. While your HEALTH/BIO REGEN is halved as long as you have two physical forms active, you may dissolve one or the other at any time via free action. At current, it is limited to benefiting from your passive physical augmentations, as neither individual body is able to spontaneously regenerate or use other powers freely like you can when whole, but with time this power could be used to make someone like you…or someone better.
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>>3498098
Hmm....This power at this stage is useful as a last resort for making a quick escape. I don't think it'll be useful for combat against the quack.
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>>3498096
BHOP, are we still linked to Isabelle as Shu?
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>>3498098
Neat power, not sure if it's worth using yet if it means neither half gets the physical boosts. Maybe for a Naruto-style "you only struck my clone" last-minute dodge, though.

Anyways, what do we know about how West fights? From what we've seen she favors a Fibromancer/Neuromancer hybrid skill based around making wires, together with a Generator skill to electrify them. But if she can be taken at her word as having eaten dozens of Daughters (and I see no reason not to), then she has plenty of other skills she can draw on if need be. Last we saw she suffers from burning through her energy supply very fast, but even if that wasn't her sandbagging she may have fixed that problem. We can also assume that thanks to those glasses she knows everything that B'Ni can do. Shit. This is going to be a hard one.

Okay, given that West likes to string up wire, maybe we should try cutting down the trees? Deny her anchoring points, keep her from laying razor wire to catch B'Ni when she moves fast. Or instead we could wait until after she's made those traps, so there's tension in the system that we can take advantage of.
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>>3498103
Agreed, the other powers are too useful and West's AoE electricity would make being in two places at once a disadvantage in close combat. Though I'm concerned that we might have to use it like you suggest - West knows about B'ni's abilities and she wouldn't have this fight if she didn't think she could win.
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>>3498114
(Yes.)
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>>3498076
Time to show the quack how its done, spawn the greaves first of all
She has neuromancy bullshit but we dont care about that thanks to our keystone
For now? We charge her and prepare to rip and tear, use our acts to react to any of her actions (if she shoots some sort of shotgun attack, throw a part of us away from it and reconstruct etc.)
Can't really make a sophisticated plan for our fir turn

>>3498115
aren't the wires neuromancy, not electricity?
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>>3498118
Is Shu still able to move about while spending 1 ACT to maintain the Bleedover link?
Because that "Monstrous" level threat tells me B'ni won't survive unless she gets support from Shu.
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>>3498119
>aren't the wires neuromancy, not electricity?
They're both. Not a hybrid skill, I don't think, but just a Neuromancy skill that plays well with a Generator skill.
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>>3498121
(For context, West's HUD labels B'ni the same thing; this conflict could easily go either way.)
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>>3498076
As Shu:
>Spend 1 ACT to maintain the bleedover link
>"Thank you for your help, we'll come back and make our decision on the surgery. But right now, we have a Quack to kill and a Bunny to support. And I'll be damned if I stay by the sidelines."

As B'ni:
>Use the environment. Grab any sticks or rocks, She's a Neuromancer that has a lightning Generator skill. This bitch can suffer backlash if she uses her powers too much.
>>
I've got to go to work.
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>>3498076
Well damn. Here we go.

>Slide in as you rip off a limb, tossing it upwards into the lighting arc to absorb most of the electricity.
>Get under her and jump upwards, using your greaves to climb a trunk if necessary.
>Aim to regenerate each segment of arm individually once you reach her, so you can get a cascade of regeneration hits in instead of just one.
>Grapple with your other arm, then pulls your legs in and kick your greaves deeply into her torso and cleave her open.
>Lighting follows a path, an arc. If still she persists with it, once open use a limb to connect the arc to her heart and see if you cant fry her with her own power.
>Also headbutt her skull in again and again and again, especially anytime she tries to talk.
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>>3498125
Well it'll go B'ni's way if we support her...one last time
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>>3498126
Carrol's Woods are a fair bit away. I don't think it's viable to get to the fight in time to do anything. Good call on the backlash part, we've gotten so used to Gina being immune to feedback and Rath being careful with her fire that I forgot those skills are meant to be risky to the user.
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>>3498121
I mean, given how extensiveness her notes on each class are, I think she must at least have one of each. I assume she's a dangerous jack of all stats, with something for every situation including B'ni's build.
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>>3498126
Oh, Quack and B'Ni. We need to have a "duck season, rabbit season" joke in the thread summary on the archives.
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>>3498133
im still for supporting Isabelle however we can
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>>3498144
It just may not be viable unless the DOs can drip us off closer. The other issue may be we are so below their level all we might do is get in her way as she constantly has to prevent us from getting one shot.

Also, still not a fan of Isabelles, but man, never have i supported her more than i do right now. Shove West foot up her ass B'ni!
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>>3498126
Im actually thinking the fleshscape probably makes there little to no rocks or 'sticks' for her to throw or use, aside from the fact that seems kinda half baked a plan and unnecessary considering she can toss her own limbs hard enough to shatter skulls.

She also has 6 ACTs and we have gotten away with squeezing more than that out of a single ACT before, just something to keep in mind.
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>>3498076
Okay, here's my thinking: West's preferred attack method should have a lock-on delay. Electricity needs a path, so she has to either send some wire at us or spend some effort ionizing the air. So despite attacking with electricity, West is not lightning-fast. However, she does have a pretty high electrical potential going on right now, if she's managing to levitate on it, so melee attacks are likely to discharge into us. B'Ni's bone blades can extend out a fair length, we're just going to have to hope that Calcite's super-tough structure makes it less conductive than normal bone. We can also do a lot of jumping, you don't want to be grounded while fighting an electricity-manipulator. We can also use the tensile strength of the wires against them, if West tries to loop some around us we can try to pull tight to sever the limb they're binding and escape.

Of course, West has other abilities than lighting and wires, but I can't plan for those. And if she has to default to an ability set that she's less familiar with to fight us, that's an advantage in its own way.

>Open up the fight with a supersonic kick from Dogged Sprinter lv.4 and Calcite Greaves lv.5 to try to take off her legs. Make it a sweeping kick with an extended blade rather than a thrusting one to minimize risk of entering into her electrical field.
>Stay on the move, do lots of jump-kicks. We've got speed, the ability to run up walls, and a forest full of vertical surfaces. Be the ninja.
>Be ready to sacrifice limbs if West manages to catch us in any wire. If possible, throw any such sacrificed limbs at West, maybe even using a Vitruvian Burst of the regenerated limb to propel it with greater force.
>Similarly, the regeneration-travel trick can be a good way to dodge away from AoE attacks if need be. Only do so if it appears to be an entangling attack, though. We regenerate a third of our Health per round, taking damage is less worrying than losing mobility.
>If things go really badly, use Ressentiment's Mirror to escape and leave a clone behind.
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>>3498212
Oh, and I forgot an order for Shu.

>Shu
>See if you can use your Empathic Field to bolster B'Ni's spirits. Keep her focused and making smart decisions instead of acting on frustrated impulse.
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>>3498076
Supporting >>3498212 and >>3498218
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>>3498212
I guess ill support this, just to test her out. I still think getting close is actually the better move though, especially as it could very easily make it unsafe for her to use her lighting, as it could easily arc into her in ammount she cant handle, if not allow us to outright latch on and have it channel through us back into her, and unless she is outright immune to the lightning i gurantee our one advantage would have her fry long before we do, though she obviously wouldn't keep it going that long.
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>>3498237
Speaking of planning, while it wont help us much, anyone got the quote from when West rattled off how many and what class of abilites she had? Wasn't it like a total of 23 or so different abilites?

I mean, any bit helps, i just can't remember which vein that even was from, nor am i home to look for it.
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>>3498329
Found it, it's in Vein 10. Thirty-six different abilities, but she only listed the numbers for how many of the party's classes she had, in an attempt to put them at ease that she saw eating them as redundant. Three Hive Mistress, four Calcite Armorer, one explosion-based Generator (though she must have at least one more, for the electricity), and either five or six Neuromancer, she lost count. That still leaves twenty-two abilities unknown, assuming that she hasn't acquired even more since then. I don't expect most of her abilities to be very useful, though, with how she's constantly acquiring new ones out of curiosity. Her build is focused on experimentation and versatility, I doubt she can afford to spend many level-ups on any one power. Rather than think of her as a single super-Daughter like B'Ni, it's more like she's a dozen low-level Daughters who have to share ACTs and resource pools with a mid-level Daughter.
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>>3498076

You settle low into a runner’s stance, fingers splaying on the ground as your greaves spear froth from your heels, your gaze dead-set on the target before you. You take a breath, and then…

…the sound barrier shatters in your wake.

Your left calf jack-knifes out to form a scythe as you rocket past West, carving her entire midsection in half with a single, lethal stroke. You land against a tree a few meters behind her, the trunk caving in as you land and cracking even further when you spear your fingers into the back to make a handhold. You see West’s upper half tilt, tumbling to the ground as it dawns on you that you’ve lost your left blade. The Doctor turns to face you, upper torso bouncing up and down on the spiraling spring of teeth like an obscene jack-in-the-box, your scythe chewed to brittle shards by the grinding shark-teeth that line the coiled flesh.

You watch West’s scalp split down the middle, a neon-pink mist of neurotic material slowly spreading across the area from the line that ends at the bridge of her nose, the shimmering air glistening with mind-bending particulates. She drops to the ground, placing her right palm against the forest floor at the same moment her left arm splits in three, the bones of her arm flaying out, fingerbones re-arranging into a baroque weapon of flesh and cartilage.

You kick off once more, leaping from tree to tree as you feel vast swathes of projectiles miss you by inches, if that.

“Forgive my aim! These are some new acquisitions I’m testing out from a selection of rather unskilled subjects I acquired in the woods.” She announces from somewhere within the obscuring cloudbank, billowing sheets laced with arcs of azure light that flicker in the fuchsia mist. The rapid-fire twang of tendons cracks through the woods, West’s calcite repeater-crossbow peppering the air around you with barbed, shredding flechettes of digits. “Four of them, terribly lost and using their gifts to uninspired effect. Ha, I do believe I can elevate these skills to far greater heights~!”

Darting along the tree branches, you look down to see the forest floor has erupted into a wriggling, writhing carpet of undulating leeches. Gnarled, toothy mouths following you, waiting for a careless step, a single slip that will bring you into their waiting jaws.

She’s playing keep-away, content to pepper you from afar. It’s not your forte, but…

You tear your other blade from your foot, cock your arm back as you land on a branch, and fling it towards the cloud with every ounce of strength you can summon. Another barrier-shattering crack erupts though the woods as it tears through the air, disappearing into the cloud. The firing stops, and for a moment you’re uncertain if it was even worth it, until…

(Continued)
>>
>>3498371

An ionized beam of blinding, azure light spears across the forest, instantly incinerating your right side and blowing you out of the trees. Your charred body hurtles through the air and tumbles along the forest floor, rolling to a stop against a distant tree. Your left eye congeals back into existence, the overwhelming smell of cooked meat filling your nostrils as you struggle to recover in time to avoid a second assault.

It doesn’t come, and instead you haul yourself to your feet as West emerges from the crackling cloud she’d been content to cower in until now.

“An eye for an eye, Darling!” She calls out, the left side of her face oozing back together as neurotic mist billows from the gaping wound. She gives you a bobbing grin as her spring-mouth chitters, a few fitful sparks dancing along her braces before dying out entirely. “Superb shot, by the way. You almost got me at the neck, clever girl~!”

Behind her, you can see the massive carpet of leeches churning towards you across the forest floor.

“B’ni…B’ni, you need to get out of there.” Shu pleads in your ear, and if your blood wasn’t running hot enough with having half your body annihilated, it is now. “Another attack like that, and you won’t…”

“No, shut up.” You snarl back. “She takes time to build up charge, I saw it when we fought the Tindalos. I can end this.”

Electric blue eyes peer out at you from a psychedelic cloud as West raises her auto-crossbow with a grin, her bloodsucking swarm surging past her feet towards their next meal. Your jaw pops, teeth grinding together in sheer rage.

“I WILL end this.”

HP: 1720% (HEALTH REGEN: 700%/Turn)
BIO: 1540% (BIO REGEN: NULLIFIED)
ACT: 6/6
Abilities: https://pastebin.com/Rvd3eWwi

Threat: Slowly being Obscured by Neurotic Mist. Massive amount of Swarmlings approaching at high speed. West and swarm at Medium range.

YOU WILL HAVE CONTROL
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>>3498378
Oh...oh did West kill our leech gal buddy and her friends?
Oh man, she never stops to add to the list, does she?

>Flick your fingers off at her like small, rapid projectiles.
>Reform your greaves and dash back into the trees, keeping mobile.
>Secretly, start carving away at the trees at different places, several around her.
>Pelt her with a few more limbs, maybe kick some branches into her to save on bio and health.
>Once its time, give yourself a burst of speed, blow your own legs off time and again if need be to gain what you need, to circle around, getting the last hit into the trees to topple then onto her all at once, from multiple directions.
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>>3498378
Did the Hive Mistress that was with the group we crossed the river with use leeches or slugs? Because I hope it wasn't them that West ate. And which Tindalos are they talking about?
>>
(Voting shall remain open for the next one and a half hours, Gentlemen.)

>3498400
(She used leeches. The Tindalos B'ni's referring to were the Chittering variants fought when you first entered the town, shortly before locating Amara's Chrysalis.)
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>>3498400
On of them also had the head neuo gas ability too im pretty sure, so yeah, fuck west...
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>>3498378
>An ionized beam of blinding, azure light spears across the forest, instantly incinerating your right side and blowing you out of the trees.
She's raised the electricity skill high enough that she can produce particle beams instead of just discharges. Well...well, okay. That's pretty cool, I won't deny that.

Despite that, this mostly confirms what I was thinking. Her core Neuromancy and Generator skills are very strong, but these other abilities are more an annoyance. Something to harass her target and keep them busy with while she charges the blast. So we need to ignore that and find a way to keep the pressure on her. Hmm. Having trouble coming up with any idea that won't do more damage to us than to her. Give me a minute,

>>3498400
No, she used leeches. It's definitely them. Their leader had that mist ability West is using, too. Well, shit. Sorry, girls.

The Tindaloi that Isabelle is talking about are those degenerated ones we fought when we first went to the town. West joined us for that fight, though she was seriously sandbagging. "Oh, I only have enough strength to wrap up a few of these at a time, dears, you'll have to do the rest yourself."
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>>3498407
>>3498409
>>3498420
Man, Myrmidon has the worst luck ever. Miraculously saved from the Grinning Spartan only to be killed by West later. That's the part that upsets me most, honestly.
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>>3498378
Okay, I have an idea, but I'm not sure if it will work. I need a few questions about Ressentiment's Mirror to be answered to know if this is viable.

Firstly, is there a distinct visual effect when Isabelle creates a clone, it budding off her body or something like that? Or can she just choose, when regenerating, that two pieces of flesh count as her core, and have each one regenerate to a whole Isabelle?

Secondly, when the passive physical enhancements of B'Ni's abilities are turned off, does that include Vitruvian Burst's ability to temporarily suppress her regeneration?

Because what I'm thinking is, if this is possible, we designate another torn-off bone blade as our second body and throw it at West. Given that we wouldn't have access to our passives, it would fly much slowerand be easier to dodge. We play this off as being more badly hurt than we actually are, allow West to kill the first body, then regenerate from the bone spear and flank her while she's chowing down.
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>>3498462
Oh, and another idea that while I'm not sure how viable it is, would be so fun if it worked: Once the other body dies, B'Ni would be able to use Vitruvian Burst fully again. If we were in the right position to make it work, she could Vitruvian Burst her entire body as she kicks West. The bone blade flying up from the ground, her flesh forming behind it to propel it upwards as Isabelle regenerates into a perfect side kick.
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>>3498462
(For your first question: You have it right in the latter part, where she may choose for a piece of flesh to count as the core, and have two individual pieces count as a whole.)

(Second, Vitruvian Burst may still be used. Her passive abilities are still active, it's simply that she cannot use the effects of her Greaves, Dogged Sprinter's effects, or trigger another instance of the Mirror, if that makes sense.)
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>>3498480
(All of B'ni's passive capstones are still active on both bodies, such as her strength augmentation, Vitruvian Burst, and so forth.)
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>>3498430
(home now)
yeah, that and one of them was a kid. they were all good folks, something the crucible is lacking in, and hurts to lose. i was hoping to see more of them in the future too. FUCK. West you bitch, you've had this coming for far too long.

>>3498370
ah, thank you for finding it.

>>3498462
>>3498476
i was actually gonna suggest after we see what toppling the trees does we do that next turn, or try and do a double take.

basically, topple the trees, and as we do, toss in a limb. then, because we know even if they do damage and interrupt her a good bit, shes gonna survive the trees, we pop up just as she digs her way out and go ham on her. the trees also should help dissipate her fog pretty heavily, my only worry is for how long.
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>>3498480
>>3498482
Oh, I misread, got the clauses mixed around. Feel a bit silly now. It's only passive powers, not only active powers. Well, that's just lovely, then.

What about regeneration, though? Vitruvian Burst creates a copy of any armors or constructs that were on the original limb. Does that mean that if we ripped the entire foot off, not just the blade, B'Ni would be able to regrow the Calcite Greave this one time, even with the skill as a whole deactivated? Because if so then I really like this idea. Rip off the foot, designate it as the second body, toss, regrow leg and blade, continue fighting at reduced strength since we won't have Dogged Sprinter or active use of the Greaves, let the original body take another particle blast, then Vitruvian Burst the severed foot into a flying kick while West isn't expecting it.
>>
(Gentlemen, I am afraid that I shall have to call an early end to this evening's posts as social obligations have cropped up that I am in no position to avoid. As such, voting shall remain open for the next sixteen hours, with posting to resume in approximately eighteen, give or take. This may actually work well, as this fight takes place on a razor's edge given the narrow gap between the participants' comparative lethality.)

(As a silver lining, I shall continue posting through the weekend until Sunday evening, with the next Vein to commence either this upcoming Tuesday or Wednesday morning, depending on work load. I shall also be around intermittently this evening to address questions, comments, and criticisms, and thank you all for your participation and enthusiasm. I wish you a good Friday evening, and take care.)

>>3498507
(Yes, that is entirely possible. As pointed out in your first fight as B'ni, while her kit appears very straightforward at first glance she's honed her skills to be utterly devastating if played well.)
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>>3497843
Something about how there's nothing saying that just because we don't have that now, doesn't mean we can't have it again later


We'll just have to build it. Together, and we can build it better now and make it something so much better that it's actually kind of intimidating to think about.

We wouldn't even consider this for anyone, because it hurt so much when Isabelle left us. The thought of going through that again, or worse pain, is scary.

But if we can't do it with Isabelle, it's scary to think we might not be able to do it at all. Isabelle is one of the only people we could trust this much. Maybe the only person we could trust enough to not just try, but to try *again* with.

But if she isn't willing to commit to it, now is the time to decide to go our separate ways. We can't tell her it won't hurt us, or even that we won't resent her for it, because that's how we feel.

But right now, if she's scared too and can't do this with us, right now we understand that fear.
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>>3498523
Whoops. Thought I hit update. Waaaaay too late.
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>>3498523
>>3498527
(That was very well written, though. I like it.)
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>>3498518
well wont lie and say i wasn't looking forward to more of this fight, but ah well. hopefully these are obligations you can at least enjoy BHOP, and regardless hope they go well!

>>3498527
it happens. not a bad post though.
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>>3498518.
>(Yes, that is entirely possible. As pointed out in your first fight as B'ni, while her kit appears very straightforward at first glance she's honed her skills to be utterly devastating if played well.)
Yeah, the ability to shift what parts of her regenerate is actually really versatile and fun. I'm the one who proposed the "rip off head to get out of trap and soccer-kick it through Gretchen" plan, and I was so excited when it worked. If only B'Ni had let us know her actual power set back when she was with the party, the things we could have done in combos...oh well.

Anyways, thanks for running, BHOP. See you next time, I'm looking forward to it.
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>>3498545
(Ah, marvelous! I was very excited when you posted and everyone started to realize what their options were. Also, the dual-techs centered around that would have been hilarious to see.)

(Speaking of which, the party as a whole is due for several new Dual Techs thanks to the time you've been investing in touching base with everyone, so I look forward to unveiling that in this Vein or the next one, as well.)
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>>3498393
>>3498378
gonna edit my vote a wee bit.

>Reform your greaves and dash back into the trees, keeping mobile.
>Flick your fingers off at her like small, rapid projectiles.
>Secretly, start carving away at the trees at different places, several around her.
>Pelt her with a few more limbs as needed, but kick and punch branches into her to save on bio and health.
>Once its time, give yourself a burst of speed, blow your own legs off time and again if need be to gain what you need, to circle around, getting the last hit into the trees to topple then onto her all at once, from multiple directions.
>Just as the Trees collapse, toss in and designate a hand as a core for regeneration, and wait.
>assuming the Trees will hardly keep West down, as she digs her way out, switch to the hand and explode yourself through her at as close to point blank as you can get, then go wild with keeping the attacks coming to not give her time to react.
>slip out one limb past her during your storm though, and the second it seems like shes gonna counter and cut off your barrage, spawn from the thrown limb and get back to moving.
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>>3498545
>I'm the one who proposed the "rip off head to get out of trap and soccer-kick it through Gretchen" plan, and I was so excited when it worked.

That was you? Dude. I've seen lots of awesome stuff in this quest, but that part was metal as HELL. Keep throwing out more ideas, I'd like to see what else you come up with.
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>>3498532
Well maybe I can save it for when Shu reconnects with B'ni.
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>>3498610
Oh, thank you. That's very flattering, I'm glad you liked the idea. But yeah, B'Ni's power set is one that lends itself to imagining some very metal fighting styles, I love it. The other characters have really cool abilities, too, but I can never quite think up as interesting ideas for them. I think it might be because of the remove, they're people that Shu is instructing rather than people we're in direct control of, so specifying exact actions isn't as viable. B'Ni having six ACTs a turn helps, too, means it's possible to add in little flairs and flourishes without feeling like they're extraneous.
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>>3498646
that was actually a really nifty idea yeah but it made no one go for my beyblade idea so im still bitter about that.
>>
AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHGGGGG
I hate the fact that i am missing out on this fight
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>>3498769
(Go ahead and throw in your vote, Anon.)
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>>3498774
i have not read what i missed because i just got off work
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>>3498580
I feel like we need to do something to draw her particle beam so that she's discharged before we get in close, otherwise she'll just blast us at close range. That's why I want to deceive her about our main body dying, we can be "slowing down" and let her blast us, and only then regen the second B'Ni and have her strike.

>>3498769
You've still got fourteen hours to vote, anon. You got any neat ideas?
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>>3498769
>>3498778
read up on it, take your time and help me and >>3498784
improve my plan here? >>3498580


>>3498784
the thing is, thats HALF our bio wasted on dodging a single attack, that she can dish out more of. but yes it is a concern. she seems to have to build up and discharge said blast, my hope was either
A) the trees falling would disrupt the buildup and release it due to her concentration being broken aswell as taking significant damage.
B)she would have to use the blast to escape from the tree prison.

but if you have a better idea on how to add in her wasting the blast beforehand im open to suggestions.
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>>3498378
Note: My vote is a two-parter. I'm posting half of my first vote to get it on the board.
Free action:
>Via bleedover to Shu: "PUT SOME FUCKING TRUST IN ME FOR FOR ONCE IN YOUR FUCKING LIFE FOR FUCKS SAKE! I'VE ALWAYS HAD YOUR BACK EVER SINCE WE WERE FOUR FUCKING YEARS OLD!. ARE YOU GOING TO SHUT UP OR ARE YOU GONNA HELP WITH THE TACTICAL FIGHTING?"
>Shu: Help B'ni out with the tactical decisions instead of simply begging her to leave! AND West Killed Myrmidion and Ceres and Diana! Are you gonna let this bitch get away with killing your first friend!?
>Shu: Help B'ni out by keeping track of the swarm of leeches. Do something useful for B'ni once like help her plan out the battleplan!
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>>3498794
>the thing is, thats HALF our bio wasted on dodging a single attack, that she can dish out more of.
My thinking was that if we can get in close we'll ideally be able to pressure her hard enough that she wouldn't get a chance to rebuild her charge, and that would make the cost worth it. Injecting and accelerating particle bunches to charge up a beam would be a pretty energy-intensive task. If we can keep her more focused on defending against someone suddenly getting in close and kicking her in half, we should be able to at least delay the next shot.

On the other hand, she probably can't hold the charge for long, either. Maybe she's evolved some ultra high-temperature organic superconductor, but maintaining her particle trap should take energy to keep it cool, if nothing else. And even if she can keep it charged for long times, she probably doesn't want to because of the risks involved in having a gut full of relativistic ions. Like your idea about the impact of the trees on her making her discharge, that actually could work if the hit was strong enough. Not sure if falling trees would be enough, but if a hit managed to deform her particle accelerator organ the beam would go off inside her. So for safety's sake, she probably doesn't take long between reaching full charge and firing it off.

Actually, then, we might want to save the hit until right before she fires. If we strike her just as she's at full charge, she'd take both our hit and her own particle beam. So I guess I've talked myself around to your plan, because if she does try to blast our clone immediately then there's a chance it could cause her to explode herself. We just have to be faster than her. Is there any way we can enhance how disoriented she is, slow down her responses?

>>3498836
Nah, that's dumb. B'Ni can keep track of the leeches just fine on her own, how is Shu going to help? B'Ni also knows her own capabilities better than Shu does, she can't give very good tactical advice. Maybe the "her beam organ should be vulnerable just as it's charged" idea can come from Shu, I guess, but that's it.
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>>3498836
(Plan anon out getting food)
I feel you are being too harsh on Isabelle. This feels like an odd reversal of you guys getting at me over my treatment of isabelle heh.

>>3498847
Hrm, a good hit to her head might do the trick. She was worried about her neck earlier and we know even if shes similar to Isabelle in not necessarily needing her head, taking hits and similar to it still disrupts vision, and so id assume thought and concentration too.
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>>3498863
Whoop, meant too harsh on Shu. Old habits die hard i guess, or something like that.
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>>3498863
>I feel you are being too harsh on Isabelle. This feels like an odd reversal of you guys getting at me over my treatment of isabelle heh.
Yeah. The "she killed these nice people, don't let her kill your friend too" is why Shu is telling B'Ni to retreat. She doesn't want West to kill her. And "do something useful for once"? That's just unfair, Shu did plenty useful during their time together. But fine, we can write it as Shu giving B'Ni the advice to disorient West and then hit her just as she's about to fire her beam cannon.

>Hrm, a good hit to her head might do the trick. She was worried about her neck earlier and we know even if shes similar to Isabelle in not necessarily needing her head, taking hits and similar to it still disrupts vision, and so id assume thought and concentration too.
Yeah, I like that. Try to focus the finger bullets at West's head. Like vulcans, in Gundam. They're weak shots but great at damaging sensors. We could probably pick off the edges of the leech swarm while we're at it, if we're going for suppressing fire.
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>>3498881
Interesting thought. Just how hard can isabelle throw her limbs? Could she basically have them smash into the ground and trees hard enough to work as sorta shrapnel grenades of a sort? Would help agaisnt swarms alot.

Though not sure just how much of a focus we should put on them, West seems to be using them as a counter to us landing more than anything.

>>3498518
Linkin to BHOP for this one too.
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>>3498886
>Interesting thought. Just how hard can isabelle throw her limbs? Could she basically have them smash into the ground and trees hard enough to work as sorta shrapnel grenades of a sort? Would help agaisnt swarms alot.
I was thinking sheer volume of fire. If she's throwing her fingers, she should be able to get a good rate going.
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>>3498888
Them digits dont lie, good idea too. Basically machine gun fire. We should aim to hit Wests head with a middle finger.
but exploding limb bombs are cool too.
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>>3498890
I mean, if you try flicking your fingers rapidly, the one you can do it fastest with actually is the middle finger, so...
>>
Battleplan:
>Start running up along the tree canopy. Run around and Cut down as many tree branches that have leaves on them.
>Finger Gun distraction while you run and gun, Tactically move yourself in a way that leads the leech swarm Dr. West, the leeches, and a tree will be in-line with a Large leafy branch.
>Grab a Large leafy branch (that you had cutdown in advance) when dodging that has plenty of leaves on it. Use your Hideous Strength to generate Hurricane Force winds to blow up the whole forest floor and the swarm of leeches with the branch. This action has 5 effects: 1) Obscure Dr. West's vision with a gale of branches and leeches 2) Blow away the leeches 3) Throw West's aim off. 4) A Misdirecting action. In the midst of the gale, B'ni let slip one of her fingers and marked it as her core 5) Blow away West's Neurocloud cover, negating her 360 degree vision.
>Use Resentment's Mirror and spawn a clone from the missing Finger Dr. West's 360 degree vision will be negated. So she won't find out that B'ni's pulled the wool over her eyes.
> B'ni with the branch suicide charges Dr. West and glomps her in a grapple in attempt to snap her neck/rip her head off. The B'ni that just regenerated will wait for the discharge and then Coup-de Grace behind the back after Dr. West is forced to Discharge.


West is a stationary target who aims to pick you off with ranged bolts and leeches to harry and pin you down while using her Tesla cannon to finish you off in one shot. She's basically Elmer Fudd with a swarm of leeches as her hounds. Her Neurocloud gives her 360 degree vision while giving her cover. Give her too many sensory inputs or blow away the neurocloud, she'll be forced to use her own two eyes.
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>>3498895
>>3498378
Linking plan to BHOP.
>>3498892
>>3498890
>>3498794
Gentlemen, any thoughts about my plan of action?
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>>3498895
When were we told West could sense through the neurocloud? Did I miss that?
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>>3498897
(The properties of the cloud are unknown.)
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>>3498903
Okay, that's what I thought. Personally, I'm assuming it's mostly meant to discourage B'Ni from getting close, but that is just a guess based on the fact that it's pretty clearly a Neuromantic vector of some kind. But Neuromancy does senses, too, I suppose there's no reason it couldn't help West in that regard as well. Maybe that's how she dodged the bone blade, she could detect its passage through the mist and get a better idea of its trajectory.
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>>3498897
We were not. It could be more a disrupt ability to keep us from getting close for all we know.

>>3498892
Fair point.

>>3498896
Not bad, but i dont feel it'll be as effective as mine. Thing is, even with Herculean strength, its very possible we wont be able to generate enough force to get rid of the leeches, if we can even find a branch with enough leaves to do that.
Knocking down the trees will potentially deal with both the cloud and leeches to some degree im sure, aswell as being a major disrupt and damage dealer.

Im still against a clone for any suicide purposes. Not worth the bio.
>>